Alaoa major multipurpose dam open for public views

An aerial view of the location of the planned multipurpose dam at Alaoa

APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 04 FEBRUARY 2019: The Electric Power Corporation is calling for further consultation with the public and especially the residents of neighbouring villages who will be affected by the construction of the major multi- purpose dam at Alaoa.

The corporation said the Alaoa Multi-Purpose Dam project is to combat flooding in the Vaisigano River on the island of Upolu following rampant flooding in recent cyclones.

Cyclone Evan in December 2012 was the worst to hit Samoa in a generation. Over a number of days, winds of more than 200 km/hr and rampant flooding destroyed lives, homes, critical infrastructure, businesses, and many parts of our great natural environment.

A second cyclone, Cyclone Gita, in February 2018, also caused widespread flooding and major damages to the same large parts of Apia.

The increasing threat of climate change means a reality in which natural events such as these will become more and more common to countries here in the Pacific, particularly Samoa.

Alaoa Multi-Purpose Dam project in Planning Stages
While we are still in the planning stage, if approved, the dam would provide a buffer that would prevent the river from flooding, protecting the homes and livelihoods of hundreds of people in the downstream areas of the region. But the benefits of the dam would go beyond flood mitigation.

The location of the planned dam in relation to neighbouring villages and Apia town

EPC says the dam will also improve the reliability of the seasonal water supply to Apia and neighbouring villages during dry periods.

And it would also provide the island with much-needed, renewable power generation through a run-of-river small hydropower plant that could provide clean, reliable power to many thousands of people in Apia.

The process is being led by the Government of Samoa through the

  • Electric Power Corporation (EPC)
  • Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE)
  • Samoa Water Authority (SWA).

If approved, the dam will have the financial and technical backing of the Asian Development Bank and other development partners.

We are in the planning stages of the project, but we have already conducted open and transparent consultations with several villages potentially affected by the project to clearly identify the area that is government land.

Those boundaries will be released to the public in May 2019, and will give the Government a better idea of which section of the Government land could accommodate the project.

Over the course of this year, we will hold more meetings and give more opportunities for people in the following villages to provide their views:

Magiagi, Alaoa, Apia, Vailima, Tanugamanono, Lelata, Maagao, Maluafou, Fa’atoia, Malifa, Matautu, Vaiala, Apia Park Moata’a.

EPC also said that so far, all the villages consulted have expressed their support for the project, noting its focus on building community resilience through flood management, stable water supply, and hydropower electricity generation.

“However, in the weeks and months ahead, we welcome and encourage everyone to give their views.”