“Pacific Island states are surrounded by the largest ocean in the world, but inadequate fresh water sources, poor infrastructure and climate change are leaving some communities without enough water to meet basic needs.
Laisene Nafatali lives in Lotofaga village, home to 5,000 people on the south coast of Upolu, the main island of Samoa, a Polynesian island state located northeast of Fiji in the central South Pacific region.
Like many on the island, she is dependent on rainfall and surface water for household needs. But without a nearby water source, such as a stream or waterfall, or a rainwater tank, she struggles with sanitation, washing, cooking and drinking.
“We only have one-gallon buckets, so if it is going to rain the whole week most of the water is lost,” Nafatali told IPS, adding that many people are unable to collect a sufficient amount of rainwater in such small containers.
“We have one bucket to store the water for the toilet, but that’s not enough for the whole family,” she added.
The wet season finished in March and now, in the dry season, it rains just two to four times per month.
Water for drinking and cooking is a priority. “If there is no rain the whole week, we pay for a truck. We put all our containers on the truck and we go to find families that have pipes and then we ask for some water. But that only [lasts] for two to three days, then we have to go again,” she said.
For washing, Nafatali and her family of six walk to the beach, which takes half an hour, and when the tide is low, they dig into the sand to find fresh water.”
Read more: IPS