Nineteen water supply and reservoir stations servicing 16 villages in the Tongatapu 5 electorate were cleaned by the Hihifo youth council on Satuday 21 November, to ensure communities have safe access to water.
These include two water supply stations in Nukunuku and six in Fo’ui that supplies water to the villages of Kolovai, ‘Ahau, Kanokupolu, and Ha’atafu.
Tonga IW Ridge to Reef (R2R) project National Project Coordinator, Silia Leger said four town officers and six staff members from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources as well as other community members also helped.
The clean up activiy comes after the youth council completed training last month on water and coastal issues and the importance of addressing them.
During the clean-up, Silia said a number of issues were noticed, including an abandoned water supply station, which is still used but had not been cleaned in a long time, and rusty water tank stands in poor condition which may collapse if a cyclone hits, leaving villages with no water as experienced with Tropical Cyclones Gita and Harold.
The use of weedkiller in plantations in the vicinity of water stations is also a concern, as well as oil leakages from pumps, and outside the pump house.
Hihifo Youth Council Chairperson, Lopeti Tufui, said they are now preparing a report on their findings and will submit it to Tongatapu 5 MP Losaline Ma’asi and the Hihifo Development Council which consists of Town and District Officers.
“The youth is here to help, but everyone else in the community has a role to play.”
“We are currently working with the Ministry of Lands through the Tonga IW R2R. And I know these issues are not new to them. I guess what will make a difference is what the communities and their respective Village Water Committees will propose from their side. And we are very hopeful that we can work together, to eliminate these issues,” said Lopeti.
“I believe that we, the youth council members of today, are planting seeds that we will sow with bigger and better impacts for the rest of Tongatapu 5 and the rest of Tonga.”
Meanwhile, Silia said a maintenance plan for the water supply and reservoir stations in Hihifo is being developed and will be connected to the Quarterly Village Water Monitoring actitivity.
“I think this is a great opportunity for the Youth Council to be engaged, but also making sure that there’s safe and available water for everyone in Tongatapu 5.”