The Division of Water Resources of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) is responsible for the overall management and regulation of the water resources of the Solomon Islands. Its prime objective is to ensure water resources are properly investigated and used on a sustainable basis to cater for the needs of people and to sustain the environment.
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Environmental Health Division, RWSS Unit is responsible for WatSan activities which, although not specifically referred to, are managed under the Environmental Health Act, 1980 and its subsidiary legislation (Section 5(1)), Order Delegating Functions, 1987. All matters failing to be administered by the Ministry under the Act are hereby delegated to the Honiara Town Council. In the subsidiary legislation, specific references are made regarding the good construction, operation and maintenance of urban WatSan services only.
This Solomon Islands National Rural WatSan Policy is the first national Policy Document supporting the National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Unit of the Environmental Health Division, Ministry of Health and Medical Services of the Government of the Solomon Islands. The RWSS was developed to provide and improve the processes involved to increase access to safe water and sanitation facilities for rural communities, rural health clinics and, funds permitting, rural education facilities in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development.
Challenges being faced by the WatSan sector include: high population growth, limited land access, limited financial assistance, limited technical resources, low access to safe water, low coverage of sanitation infrastructure, low maintenance of installed schemes, lack of applied community funding for maintenance and operation, low sector coordination, lack of community education, preparedness and ownership and lack of standardized technical designs and minimum standards for supply infrastructure.
To improve the situation and address the challenges, this Rural WatSan Policy defines the responsibilities of the stakeholders within the sector and including the beneficiaries. An increase in productivity and quality of services by the sector will be initiated and underpinned by a more coordinated approach to water and sanitation infrastructure and hygiene education.