HONIARA – After almost 40 years, Abilyn Chenisi and her fellow villagers living in Horohotu 2 (Verabariki) Central Guadalcanal, can now finally enjoy access from a reliable and fresh water supply at their homes, thanks to the Community Benefits Sharing Project (CBSP).
For decades, the residents of Verabariki village have had to travel close to half a kilometre to fetch water from the Tina River, which was often contaminated and prone to seasonal variations. Now, because of the Tina River Hydropower Development Project (TRHDP), the daily reliance on the river is a thing of the past.
The task of collecting enough water for daily use was a time-consuming and difficult process, particularly for women and children who were traditionally responsible for fetching water. For Abilyn, she normally made three trips a day to the river to do washing, bathing, and collecting drinking water since the Verabariki settlement was established in 1984.
“I usually made three trips to the river each day and during those years, life was very difficult for our family.
In the morning, I would travel to the river with our clothes for washing. While I left the clothes to soak, I will head to the garden to do cleaning, harvesting, and replanting of crops. After gardening, I would return to the river to do the washing and later put out the clothes to dry and head home. My second trip to the river was normally to wash all eating utensils, collect the clothes after drying. Usually, the third trip was for bath and to fetch drinking water when the day was colder,” the emotional 70-year-old mother recalled.
Now, a life changing new water supply system has been installed in the village, which draws water from a CBSP funded borehole and delivers it through a standpipe near their home via a network of water pump, pipes and tanks. The new system is powered by solar panels, making it both sustainable and cost-effective.
Abilyn expressed her joy and gratitude for the work the CBSP team have done to connect the water system. “This is a dream come true for us,” she said. “We no longer have to walk long distances to fetch water, and we can now use this time to focus on other activities, such as farming.
“Now, the bushes on the road to the Tina River can regenerate because we will no longer need to use it daily,” she joked.
Her partner, Ezra Jungle, 73, thanked the Tina River Hydropower Development Project for seeing it fit to install the water supply facilities in their community.
“I have seen the importance of this system therefore I opened up my land for this great development. We are a very fortunate community in Central Guadalcanal because of the Hydropower project. We have been looked after, I didn’t have to spend any single cent to be able to bath, drink, and wash from this very fresh water,” Mr Jungle proudly said.
The new water supply system is part of a broader initiative by the Tina River Hydropower Development Project (TRHDP) through the CBSP to improve access to clean water and sanitation in the project’s catchment areas.
Francis Kapini, the Coordinator of the CBSP said “As the major renewable energy project in Solomon Islands, CBSP aims to enable communities in the area to access good water supply and sanitation facilities.
“Through the CBSP, it is our task to install reliable, clean water supply and sanitation facilities in targeted locations throughout the project region, which Verabariki is part of.”
He added, the successful installation of the new water supply system at Verabariki village is a major milestone in this initiative and demonstrates the tangible benefits that can be achieved through collaborative efforts between the Solomon Islands government, aid agencies, and local communities. ENDS//