Water woes for Kobito residents
Residents of Kobito 1, 2, and 3 and Gilbert Camp on the outskirts of east Honiara have almost everything basic things they need in life.
Except for one important commodity – clean piped water in their homes.
This is not a new problem though.
Handy Saelea, 27, a resident of Kobito 2, remembers it quite well.
“Since I was a kid, there was no water supply to this area. We depend on a well up there behind Gilbert camp to fetch our water for drinking and cooking,” Saelea said.
“Now I am 27, with much development happening around Honiara, but there is still no water supply to our area,” he added.
While Honiara residents take the availability of water supply in their homes for granted, residents of these settlements could only wish they have similar privilege.
Life, as one would imagine, is not easy for them.
Every day, they have to carry containers and unwashed dishes to the well behind Gilbert Camp to fetch their drinking water and do their dishes.
Mostly, it was the women and children who suffered the brunt of this daily chore.
For some, it was a kilometre’s walk every day.
“I only wish we have water piped and supply right in front of our houses,” Saelea said.
“I wonder why the water problem in our area has been ignored all these years by the government and our leaders.
“Is it because we are not part of Honiara?
“Or is it because we are not important?
“The water situation here is every parent’s nightmare.
“Sometimes when the water containers run out of water in the night, they have to get out and walk to the well to fetch water so that could have water to prepare breakfast for the children in the morning to attend school.
“It’s no easy life.”
Saelea said every four years during election time, candidates always campaign on the water situation.
“They would tell us if they win the election, they’ll work on a water supply project for the community.
“I’ve heard this so many times, but winning candidates never bother to talk about that as soon as they go into parliament,” he said.
One housewife, who had lived in the Kobito 2 area whole her life, said the lack of water supply is killing them women.
“We have to travel to the stream/well two to three times a day to collect water and do our dishes,” she said.
“For us women, our only wish is for the government or our MP to extend Honiara’s water supply service to our homes.
“Of course we will not get it for free, but will have to pay for it. That I believe many families will prepare to do it.
“Because it will save us a lot of time having to travel to a fro each day to fetch water,” she said.
Meanwhile, Saelea said some houses have access to Solomon Water, but it was not reliable.
“I think Solomon Water should come in and talk to the communities about the options that are available for them to connect to their service.
“At the end of the day, we are very much part of Honiara so any services, especially water supply, should be made available to us,” Saelea said.
He urges leaders of the communities to work together address the situation.
SINU journalism student