By Lagi Keresoma
APIA: Monday 27th August 2012: The scarcity of drinking water on the island of Manono-tai is something of the past now thanks to the Lions Club of Samoa who donated and installed forty solar panels which will turn the abundant seawater around the island to clean drinking water.
For the 200 plus residents, there is no water supply and so they depend on rain water for consumption and when family water tanks run out, they have to cross the sea to the mainland for water supply.
The Lions Club of Samoa initiated the project on Manono-tai, and according to the clubs Chairman Leao Akeripa, as they saw the need in the island for fresh water and so decided to use the funds provided for the clubs projects on a useful project for Manono-tai.
The total cost of the project was $245,000 including the 40 panels. Ten panels have been installed on four villages on the island.
Leao said that it takes 24 hours for a 2.5 liter can to be filled with clean water from seawater after being processed. “But this depends on the amount of sun. If it is a good sunny day, there might be two cans a day but it all depends on the day.”
He also confirmed that samples of the clean water has been sent to the Scientific Reseach Organisation of Samoa (SROS) to verify the standard of the water. He credited the Toleafoa Elon Betham of the CMN Company for being the agent that brought in the solar panels. The village will also have the benefit to utilise the salt residue from the sea water for cooking.
Leao said that one good thing about the solar system project is that it is environmentally friendly. “This is the first such project not only in Samoa but in the Pacific region,” said Leao.
Matais of the village of Lepuai village where the project was launched praised the efforts by Lion club of Samoa.
“To us, whether it’s one or two cans a day does not matter as long as we know, they won’t have to travel across for water as often as we did in the past.”
“This is timely and good for us especially that water is now scarce because of the long dry spell,” said Tulasi Fa’afuata who has the task of monitoring the project at Lepuai.
Ewen Cameroan, a New Zealander who operates the Sunset View resort on Lepuia’i for the past eight years said that it was hard for him at first when he realised the problem faced by the village. However, the water problem had not affected the business once he learnt the art of getting water for the island.
“Fortunately, guests at the resort are from places where there is a scarcity of water and are used to the problem so they easily adapt to the problem on the island,” Cameron told Talamua.
He said that village had suffered tremedously and he has to ensure that his ten gallons of water does not run out and he too had to
travel across to get water.