7 Jan 2014

Landowners close Honiara main water source

2:44 pm on 7 January 2014

Customary landowners in the Solomon Islands capital Honiara have closed the source of more than half of the city's water supply.

Yesterday Honiara's water authority Solomon Water said a group of landowners up-stream from the Kongulai Water Source illegally shut off part of the source over Christmas.

The Solomon Star reports the closure follows what landowners claim to be failure by the government, Solomon Water and Kongulai land trustees to address the Kakau Valihelu tribe's concerns over 20 years of unpaid royalties.

A spokesperson for the tribe says landowners of the water source have never received any benefit from what they own despite numerous efforts to voice their concerns to the government, Solomon Water and Kongulai land trustees.

Bernard Supoua says through inaction over the issue those entities are now denying innocent people access to clean water and putting them at risk of disease.

He says the tribe is sorry for closing the Kovi sinkhole but believes there is no other way to make the government and relevant authorities address its concerns.

Mr Supoua says the door is open for negotiation but the water source will remain closed until landowners are treated fairly.