LANDOWNERS at Kongulai where the water source which provides Honiara’s 130, 000 residents daily provision of fresh, clean and safe drinking water yesterday received seven houses in recognition of their willingness to relocate.
Solomon Water handed over the keys to the seven two-bedroom houses in a ceremony at Kongulai, west of Honiara. The houses, as well as the access road, cost Solomon Water about $7 million.
Yesterday’s two-hour ceremony was attended by the Chairman of the Solomon Water Board, Carson Korowa, Guadalcanal Premier, Francis Sade, Solomon Water’s Chief Executive Officer, Ian Gooden as well as representatives from the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey and the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification.
With the exchange of chupu, the relocation of the seven families from their initial settlement meant that the way is now clear for the development of a large new treatment plant to be built at Kongulai next year.
Work on the donor-funded project, estimated to cost more than $100 million, is expected to start next May.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Solomon Water Board Chairman, Carson Korowa acknowledged the willingness shown by the Kongulai landowners to relocate in order to make way for the new development.
“It is not easy, but we thank you for your willingness to relocate and to work with Solomon Water on this major project,” he said.
Mr. Korowa appealed to the landowners to work together with Solomon Water in the new development, urging them to look after their houses as well as Solomon Water properties on their land.
He said Solomon Water produced 32 million litres of water a day. Given population pressure on services, there is a need for bigger and better drinking water.
Guadalcanal Premier Francis Sade said he is happy to see the initiative taken by Solomon Water in building houses for the landowners.
“Partnership in development is the way forward,” adding all too often the people were left out in development.
“I am happy and so is my government, which encourages social inclusion,” the Premier said.
Premier Sade said the desire by the people of Guadalcanal to be partners in development were often ignored.
“I am happy Solomon Water has shown the way forward in partnership development.”
Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification, Daniel Rove said the government is very appreciative and supportive of the new Kongulai Water treatment plant project..
“I must emphasize here that the project SIWA will be embarking on is crucial for the expanding and growing population of Honiara and its surrounding area,” he said.
He told the gathering that the population of Honiara grew by 5.8 percent in the 10 years to 2019.
This means that there will be a lot of further pressure on services such as water supply.
By FOLLET JOHN