Families living in Malololelei say comments by the Prime Minister for Samoan families to get drinking water from “tufu” (spring water) does not apply to inland families.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sa’ilele Malielegaoi — when commenting recently on families’ accessibility to water — said it should not be an issue for the poorest of families as they can dig for water on beaches.
“Long ago when we did not have pipes what we did in our villages, there is a thing called Tufu along the beaches all you do is dig and spring water comes in. That is the value of local knowledge, there is a tufu,” he said.
But Rev. Samani Iulio Ioane, who has lived with his wife and children at Malololelei for close to six years and spoke on behalf of village’s families, said accessing tufu doesn’t work for them and other inland villagers.
“He is right about the tufu, it is an old source of water supply. But we are far away from the sea, how are we going to get water from the tufu when tufu are only found along the beaches?”
“There is much need for pipe installation in the village of Malololelei as it is expensive to pay for water truck to fill tank every now and then.
“It takes us $400 to pay for a water truck to fill our water tank, and if we don’t have the money at certain time then we have no other options. We only have one tank and it is not enough for all of us as our family continue to grow each year,” he said.
Rev. Samani said they had asked for water pipes from authorities over the years to no avail, and indicated that even the Prime Minister assured them in 2016 — when he went to Malololelei to open a school building — that the Government will install pipes for water.
“How can the PM say that water is not an issue when he told us himself that water pipes will be installed in our village three years ago, and until now nothing is done?”
“He was invited for the launching of the school, and he spoke to us that he will give priority to the school water supply and the road with a hospital to avoid us from going all the way to town. Now there are good roads and water supply for the school and families nearby, except for us.
“We are still waiting because we have tried so many times, we even paid the registration fee to the Samoa Water Authority but they demanded us to pay extra $700 for the installation. How can we pay for that much amount when none of them came to actually see where we are staying to assure us that there will be an installation?”