Gizo on the verge of water crisis

Water from a tank. Photo: SIBC

The capital of Western Province is facing a water shortage and could soon declare an emergency.

The provincial capital, Gizo, has depended on rainwater and wells for more than 30 years, and a lack of rain over the past two weeks has left many tanks empty and caused wells to start drying up.

Deputy Premier Malloney Lopoto yesterday called for a meeting with stakeholders to address the situation.

They appointed several people to assess the water sources in Gizo to help determine their next course of action.

The Western Provincial Government also received reports of water shortages in the Shortland Islands, Simbo and Parara in Rarumana, Roviana Lagoon.

Western Provincial Secretary Jeffrey Wickham said he will notify the National Disaster Management Office in Honiara of the situation.

Mr Wickham said if there is no rain in the next few days, they will have to take actions to reduce pressure on the water supply in Gizo.

“If we continue to provide cooked food especially to the market, given the situation at the moment, we have to stop preparing food because we don’t want health risks to arise,” he said. “We’ll probably have to close down the market so that we can all go home and don’t put much pressure on us in Gizo as far as water is concerned.”

One solution to the water issue being considered is to curb development in the township.

“We will have to start thinking about stopping construction of new buildings,”┬áMr Wickham said. “We will stop new commercial entities coming into Gizo; we will stop any further development that would attract people.”

By Kikiva Tuni

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