According to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management’s (MFEM) latest status report, a total of 1,845 applications have been processed by the ministry, out of 1,882 received.
Funding for the programme is nearing the cap of $3 million allocated by the government under the three-year subsidy scheme, with $721,000 in funds available until June 2015. Progress on installations is described as satisfactory by the Ministry, which is recording an average of five installations per week. A slight increase in applications and public inquiries into the programme occurred earlier this month, which project officials attribute to the dry weather and lack of rain during the last three weeks of September. Issues cited by officials include homeowners holding up some installations due to delay in completing foundation slabs, and paying their deposits. A recent tender was issued by MFEM to refresh the list of accredited water tank subsidy suppliers, and a number of entities are currently being assessed. “This hasn’t prevented installations as we continue to use accredited suppliers, but allows new suppliers a chance to be added to the approved list and existing suppliers to get a robust check-up,” said Tierney.
MFEM says, even with a new water tank installation, home owners need to ensure proper maintenance and cleaning to reduce risks of low water quality.
Senior health inspector William Taripo with Community Health Services said proper maintenance of water tanks begins with consistent testing.
If low quality is recorded after using a field test kit, the tanks should be emptied and sanitised – which can be done using water and bleach solution. Guidelines for the mixing the solution depend on the size of water tank. According to one set of instructions on the internet, a ratio of a quarter cup of bleach should be used for 40 litres of water. If rainwater is being harvested from roofs, Williams said filters need to be cleaned and replaced, with guttering screened and clear of debris.
“These are just some simple tips for the household water tanks,” said Taripo. Under the subsidy programme, the government pitches in $1500 to install a 6000 litre plastic water tank or a concrete tank of 5000 litres or more, with residents responsible for the remaining balance.