Wednesday 4 January 2023
NEW WATER CHARGES FOR 2023 APPROVED
“Improving value, Improving services and Improving for the future”
Solomon Water strives to provide our customers with safe and reliable water and wastewater services. Back in 2012, Solomon Water used to supply water for around 5 hours per day. With the many improvements that we are undertaking, our supply duration is now over 22 hours per day, and we are striving to provide a 24 hours water service to our customers in the near future.
In meeting the evolving regulatory requirements, water supply needs and customer expectations in the future, Solomon Water announces to its customers that as of January 1 2023 there has been an increase in our water and wastewater tariffs. As part of our ongoing “We Are With You” campaign, the increase will be aimed at improving services to our customers and this includes the Kongulai treatment plant, increasing water production in the Kombito/Panatina area and upgrades to our provincial water supplies.
Solomon Water appreciates the difficulties to customers at present due to wet weather affecting the water catchment areas at Kongulai and Kombito and we are taking steps to try and reduce the impacts caused by the illegal activities that are causing the dirty water. Solomon Water also appreciates the hardships customers experienced during the water rationing last year. We are continuing to work with landowners and responsible authorities to ensure water catchment areas are protected and supply to our weirs and reservoirs is uninterrupted.
We have made several improvements in 2022 to increase our production capacity to reduce the impact of these shutdowns, and have several more planned for 2023. Over the past year we have completed projects to rehabilitate and upgrade the Rove Source, upgrade the Kwaibala source in Auki and also started work to increase production and protect our boreholes at Panatina. 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.
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.
Board Chairman Donald Marahare said “We thank the Government for working with us and supporting the need for adequate funding for improvements to Solomon Water’s services. We acknowledge that some households may struggle to afford basic services but note that the water supplied by Solomon Water meets World Health Standards 98% of the time and is safe to drink. The new tariff represents only an increase of 39 cents per kilolitre (tonne) of water for the lowest domestic tariff band and is considerably lower than increases in power and foodstuffs experienced over the past year.
Our tariff is partly driven by high electricity costs (which has increased over 50% 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. We ask Government to assist us with further donor grant funds instead of loans to assist in keeping water affordable to all our customers”.
We appreciate that clean water and good sanitation is critical for people to remain healthy and Solomon Water’s vision “Safe water for a healthy nation” is at the heart of our work with stakeholders, communities and customers in improving our services. Improved water and sanitation leads to better health outcomes for everyone, healthier children, less time off school and work, and reduced health costs.
We’re with you in improving value, improving services and improving for the future - all aimed at delivering our vision of “Safe water for a healthy nation”.