Clean water gives families in Samoa a fresh start

Water is a crucial human resource, providing nourishment, hygiene, and crop growth. 

For Samoan communities living in vulnerable villages, accessing water remains a challenge. Despite their proximity to town centres, people living in non-traditional villages experience constant hardship due to their lack of land ownership for food management. They do not benefit from government water sources offered near towns, while also lacking access to natural resources such as rivers and streams found in more traditional rural villages. 

Around the islands of Upolu and Savai’i, water usually only flows during the night in certain villages and may be gone for days without notice. Some villages with independent water schemes face similar issues, with water only flowing through pipes for less than eight hours a day and none after rainfall.  

To safeguard Samoan communities against water scarcity during the COVID-19 pandemic, Caritas Australia, in partnership with Caritas Samoa, began the Advancing Resilience through Resources for Outreach and Water Security (ARROWS) program, providing vulnerable Samoan households with dependable access to clean water.  

Thanks to your generosity and support, Caritas Australia partnered with Caritas Samoa to install water tanks for 32 families in 17 villages (many being non-traditional) on the islands of Upolu and Savai’i. The newly installed tanks benefitted at least 400 people living with unreliable access to water, including Tului. 

Tului and her family with their installed water tank. Credit: Caritas Samoa

For decades, Tului and her family of 13 endured the hardship of living with water scarcity, often collecting rainwater in buckets as their primary water source. Yet, the bucket collections were never enough, especially with extended periods of drought and sporadic events of extreme rainfall. Additionally, the collected water was constantly rationed and typically prioritised for the most urgent needs, including drinking and cooking, with days when there was not enough for even showering, cleaning or laundry.  

Through the ARROWS program, Tului received a 3,000L tank in December 2021 and an effective stand-alone rainwater harvesting system. Since installation, the water tank has consistently been full from sporadic rainfall events, and now Tului and her family have enough water to meet their basic needs, and maintain a more hygienic environment. 

With clean water for nourishment, they can also bathe more frequently, wash their clothes and clean food utensils to avoid spreading disease. The newly installed water tank ensures a safer and healthier life for Tului, her family and the many other families in her community.  

“Even though it doesn’t rain every day, now we can safely collect a lot more water when it rains and we have enough,” says Tului. “I don’t have to walk around looking for water with my children anymore but there are many families who still have to. I always share our water with those people because we have to always help one another. You helped me and now I have to help them.” 

“This program gave us so much and we will never forget. I am so glad that you exist. I know that it is not an easy job, but you keep serving and you have so much love inside your heart to give. You showed kindness to us, and I am so thankful.”

- Tului

Thanks to your support, programs like ARROWS allow hundreds of families to overcome the challenges of water scarcity and improve their living conditions. Take a look at how we’re tackling the water crisis to help more people like Tului:

Tackling the Water Crisis