Stop notice issued to logging company, investigation underway
By Mike Puia
A stop notice has been issued to a logging company operating on the upstream of Kovi and Kungulai water sources as investigation carried out to determine the cause of turbidity (dirty water).
The investigation is jointly conducted by the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology.
Kovi and Kongulai catchments, which cover an area of 14 square kilometres, is where close to 60 percent of Honiara’s estimated 70,000 residents rely on for water.
In recent days, Solomon Water was forced to shut down water from these catchments due to turbidity.
It carried out an investigation into logging situation upstream in conjunction with relevant government ministries.
Solomon Water inspected the site and suspected that the sources of the turbidity are due to logging operations upstream at Tavilo concession area.
Solomon Water inspected other logging and sawmilling operations in the same area and compiled a joint inspection report with the responsible ministries.
Solomon Water CEO, Mr Ian Gooden, said they can confidently say that logging activities contribute to the latest turbidity issues.
Gooden confirmed that they have conducted an investigation into logging activities in adjacent catchments and working with the relevant ministries to manage sediments run–off from logged areas.
“Logging activities upstream is the underlying cause for the continuous turbidity experienced from our Kovi/Kongulai water source,” CEO of Solomon Water said.
MECCDMM’s Permanent Secretary, Melchior Mataki, told Island Sun he is aware a stop notice issued to a logging company and a sawmilling company that are operating in the water source catchment area.
Director of Environment within the MECCDMM, Joe Horokou, confirmed the stop notice being issued.
Horokou said the stop notice has been issued to the logging licensee and its contractor to cease operations within its concession.
While a stop notice has been issued, Horokou said the Ministry is investigating the potential causes of water pollution within Solomon Water catchment.
He said the logging company that operates within its concession has complied with the necessary legal requirements such as environmental statements, public notice and public hearing which was held at Kakabona village.
Horokou said Solomon Water management has already done an Ariel survey with an intention to properly have a good view of its water catchment in light of the areas disturbed by the logging operations on Monday.
He said the Ariel survey will complement the ground surveys undertaken within sections of the timber concession of the logging company and to determine any encroachments within the catchment.