Solomon Water has been forced to take serious cost cutting measures following the significant fall in its revenue as a result of the impacts of COVID-19.
Solomon Water CEO Ian Gooden said, “Solomon Water is a good and loyal employer however with the challenges and impacts of COVID-19, we are now forced to take steps to try and balance revenue with expenses to ensure our survival into the future”. He further added. “We will shortly be reducing the working hours of non-essential support areas in the business while we retain staff that directly link to the core function of the business. At this stage we do not intend to lay off any permanent staff as we need all our people for when things begin to pick up again. ”
The Solomon Water Board and Management informed the employees last week of the decision and are working on ways to assist staff to better manage their money and to sustain themselves in this critical time. Continuing to produce safe water and provide quality customer service are our key priorities and customers should not see any reduction in service levels.
Solomon Water has already significantly reduced capital works and operating expenses over recent months, but we have had a major fall in revenue, with a less significant fall in demand. We think more people may be making illegal connections to avoid paying their water bills.
Illegal and unmanaged logging in the Kohove and Kongulai water catchments has forced Solomon Water to spend over $18 m of our cash reserves in land and refurbishment of the White River bore field, and also in land and resettlement housing in preparation for constructing of the Kongulai water treatment plant to allow us to treat the sediment laden water following rains. The $140 m donor funded treatment plant is about to be tendered for construction and should be operational by late 2021.
We are constantly monitoring revenue, expenses and cashflow, and will return all workers to full time employment as soon as we can, but we don’t know if this will be one month, 6 months or even longer.
CEO, Ian Gooden concluded “These are very challenging times and it is a tough decision for the Board and Management but this is to ensure we, as an essential service provider, continue to provide safe and quality water to our customers and that we survive this downturn and are stronger and better afterwards”.