SOLOMON Water is increasing water charges for its domestic and commercial customers this New Year.
Chairman Solomon Water Board Donald Marahare said the new tariff represents only an increase of 39cents per kilolitre (tonne) of water for the lowest domestic tariff band.
“Our tariff is partly driven by high electricity costs (which has increased over 50 per cent in 2022 over the previous year) and the need to provide our share of funds into the significant donor-funded upgrade programme.
“We also need to fund loan repayments to Government for some of the donor-funded works,” Mr Marahare said in a statement to customers.
He said a way to assist in keeping water affordable to all Solomon Water customers is for government to assist Solomon Water with further donor grant funds instead of loans.
According to Solomon Water, this increase is effective 1st January 2023 and it will cover water and wastewater tariffs to help improve services to its customers.
“…this includes the Kongulai treatment plant, increasing water production in the Kombito/Panatina area and upgrades to our provincial water supplies,” it said.
It said over the past year Solomon Water had completed projects to rehabilitate and upgrade the Rove Source, upgrade the Kwaibala source in Auki and also started work to increase production and protect its boreholes at Panatina.
It said mobilisation to start the Kongulai Water Treatment Plant and the Honiara Trunk Mains and Reservoir projects has also started.
“There have been delays commencing earthworks for all the projects but this is to be expected post COVID-19, especially in Solomon Islands.
“We are now looking at starting construction for both projects in the next two months and they will be completed in late 2024.
“When completed, Solomon Water will be able to produce water regardless of weather and catchment conditions.
“Forty cents from every kilolitre of water sold will go towards future management and protection of the water catchment areas,” the statement said.
Solomon Water said to assist with this effort, the Government through the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification and the Ministry of Finance and Treasury has approved an increase in the water tariff and the commercial monthly standing charge, which are now in effect.
“It reflects the cost of delivery of water and wastewater services and the continuous improvements that we will be undertaking to provide safe and reliable water services in our areas of operations. Other minor changes, including new domestic service connections and other fees, have also been approved,” Solomon Water said.