The biggest issue for Majuro Water and Sewer Company’s 20-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is the cost to provide services for customers as new infrastructure is installed and services improved.
“There’s no use putting in the world’s best (water system) if people can’t afford it,” said MWSC Water and Sanitation Adviser Allen Gale during a joint MWSC and Beca workshop for people and agencies involved in water-related issues.
MWSC reported the current status of its ongoing CIP project during the event at the Marshall Islands Resort’s Melele Room recently.
A recent community survey conducted by MWSC and Beca of 338 households from Rita to Laura confirmed the cost problem. About 45 percent of households surveyed were MWSC customers. Over half of non-customers surveyed said the reason for not being a customer is they can’t afford to pay for the service. Overall 90 percent of all households, both customers and non-customers, said they did not want to pay more than $200 annually for water and sewer services.
Some workshop participants agreed with this response and added that it is difficult for most households because of unemployment and low income.
Cost depends on the level of service provided, and is expected to increase as MWSC completes its upgrades. The airport reservoirs will have more storage capacity and coverage, and treatment plants, machinery and electrical systems are scheduled to be renewed. MWSC is also looking at how to increase the provision of fresh water in the future.
MWSC is looking at how it balances affordability for people with sustainability for the company as it continues with its long-term improvement program for Majuro Atoll.
Read more about this in the December 30, 2016 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.