Mountain dwellers get water

National, Normal

The National Monday, December 13, 2010

THE mountain people of Satop in Tewai-Siassi in Morobe are celebrating now that fresh water is flowing into  their village.
There was feasting and dancing when fresh cool water gushed out of the tap when turned on by local MP Vincent Michaels and Morobe Governor Luther Wenge at the village’s Lutheran church square, much to the excitement of the local people who never had proper water supply since their ancestors settled in Satop village.
People from the neighbouring hamlets, numbering more than a thousand, gathered at the ridge-side village to participate in the feasting.
Satop village is home to some 700 Kate speaking people who have been crying for fresh water for many years.
According to the villagers, their source of water all these years were streams flowing out of rocks in small gorges and during hot seasons, they turn to swampy streams.
The Satop water project, among other projects, came on the list of the Tewai-Siassi joint district planning and budget priorities committee last year.
It approved K80,000 and the contract was awarded to local contractor, Tombo Mali.
The dam was built at Detet, a traditional land about 3km into the neighbouring Kabwum electorate.
Detet landowner Jim Alaso said they had customary ties with Satop but were only separated by the electoral boundaries.
Alaso said his people agreed to let water from their land be piped.
Selected clan leaders from the two areas later signed a memorandum of understanding witnessed by Wenge and  Michaels.
The MoU said, in part, that any member of the community who interfered with the  project in any way would be dealt with by the law.
Michaels urged the people to take ownership of the project.
The committee also approved K96,000 for another water project for the Ipang community, to begin soon.
At the occasion Satop Community School was also recognised by the leaders who made a commitment to fund its initial infrastructure development apart from  other projects  in the electorate.