By Sarina Laurence
Honiara, Solomon Islands, April 19, 2021
The Community Benefit Sharing Project (CBSP) team are out in the community this week initiating preparations for the construction of water supply systems under component 2a of the program. It is the final preparation work required before actual construction begins on this element of the Community Benefit Sharing Project worth an estimated SBD $6 million.
This month several days will be spent in the communities updating residents on the agreed water designs and discussing any final community input. The team, including the CBSP community water engineer, a water consultant from the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification (MMERE) specialising in boreholes and an environmental person covering the CBSP Environmental and social management framework (ESMF) will conduct the field work to make a final assessment of where the bore hole sites will be located and to ensure the construction aligns with the prescribed ESMF. Where necessary, they will also hold further community and household consultations specific to the work.
The Water Supply and Sanitation Project, which is a subcomponent to Component 2a of the Community Benefit Sharing Program is set to positively impact more than 60 communities and 5000 residents with the improvement of the community water infrastructure. In 2016, a preliminary survey was conducted over 88 villages in the Bahomea and Malango areas to study the water supply and sanitation status of the communities and make recommendations for possible investments under the CBSP. A total of 16 packages were identified referred to as the ‘WASH Investment Priority List” covering densely populated communities, schools and clinics for water and sanitation installations, which the CBSP team have been reviewing since 2019.
Work will also be completed in the coming weeks to produce a specific Environmental and Social Management Plan for the water construction. This plan will align to the World Bank CBSP Environment and Social Framework Screening as part of the upcoming activity to be presented to the communities in a pre-construction workshop. The sessions will be held sometime in May and before actual constructions on the water project begins.
The CBSP team are working closely with the Water Division of the MMERE, who are conducting the final surveys, before borehole drilling commences towards the end of May. The full construction of the water transmission systems to communities is also scheduled to start mid-year.
With construction of the Water Supply Systems Project now on the near horizon, procurement and tender documents for construction will be developed and distributed over the coming weeks.