Paulina Quintao – The National Director for Water Resources and Management, Ministry of Pubic Works (MOP) Gustavo da Cruz said Timor-Leste has sufficient water resources within the territory to respond to the needs of communities, but there are limitations in the State Budget create adequate water supply networks for the community.
Another problem is the geographical composition of Timor-Leste because many communities lives in isolated villages, surrounded by mountainous terrain and that makes it difficult to supply them with easily available water.
He said most people in Timor-Leste use manual water pumps to supply water to their community. "We also face operational and human resources limitations and with the system of maintenance," he added in Dili.
He informed that more than 200 water pumps have been installed across the territory but 50% of water pumps are not working properly so communities cannot access clean water.
He said the government and partners in rural areas have established the clean water management facility groups in every municipality to control water systems in the communities, but they are not working adequately.
He added water systems include electrical water pumps, some powered by generators and solar panels because some areas do have not access to the electricity grid.
He said even in municipalities that have access to water, where there is a canalized system, communities do not take proper care of the network, in some sukus and hamlets communities destroy the water pipes.
Meanwhile, the Director of Organization Hafoun Timor-Leste Foundation (FHTL), Koko Valentine said water issue has not been solved since the first government until now as the government has not created a policy for water and sanitation management.
He said so far the government, non-government organizations and the partners have implemented clean water and sanitation programs based on the ministerial diploma no. 4/2004 while the policy is unclear.
"Our estimation was that in 2020, 75% of population in the country will have access to clean water, but in reality, coverage is rolling out very slowly," he said.
He informed that government's estimation is that by 2020, 75% of communities in rural areas will have access to clean water, but now it only reaches some 50%.
He added that while the government is committed to providing clean water and sanitation as a priority issue, it forgets to allocate enough resources to allow to deliver on this commitment.