LOGGERS BLAMED - Solomon Star News


19 July 2019
Murky water at the Kongulai water source.

Solomon Water wants gov’t 
step in address water crisis



CURRENT water cuts in Honiara have been blamed on the logging operations conducted within the Kongulai catchment area.

That’s the conclusion of the water forum held in Honiara on Thursday. The forum discussed the city’s water crisis.

Solomon Water Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ian Gooden said the loggers failed to comply with their licence when they moved and operated within the catchment area.

Gooden said development consent granted to Tabilo Timber Saw milling clearly stated they must not enter the water catchment areas.

It also stated the holder of consent must not conduct its logging operations in areas above 400 metres above sea level. For this case, they were already 431 metres above sea level.

The logging operations have resulted in the murky water every time the rain falls in the Konglai water source area.

Gooden said Solomon Water was left with no option but to shut down its Kongulai source to protect its system when there’s heavy reain.

“We cannot releases sediments that will block our pipes, meters, equipment and that of our customers because it might spoil water appliances,” he explained.

He added they have to do this because the water is unpleasant to drink and even use for washing when it’s dirty.  

“So with sediment in supply and no water treatment plant available, the only thing we can do is shutdown the water.”

Gooden said the problem is a crises and a historic one for Solomon Water because they usually have up to 8 days shutdown per year but now they have 7 days plus per month, especially since mid of 2018.

He said their wish is for the national government to step in and help address the situation.

 “We have already issued a letter to the Prime Minister requesting him for a dialogue or assistance but until today, we are yet to get their response,” he said.

He urged all water users to help push for the government through the responsible authorities to act now given the nature of the problem.

Those who spoke at the forum urged the Ministry of Forestry and Research to cancel the logging licence they issued for the area.