Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

EPC Manager: Samoa Village Flooding Not Caused By Dam
Official says deforestation from logging to blame for floods

By Jasmine Netzler

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Jan. 22, 2013) – The General Manager of the Electric Power Corporation (EPC) Tologata Tile Le'ia has denied claims that the flash floods during Cyclone Evan in Samoa were caused by the Alaoa Dam breaking.

Instead he has placed the blame squarely back on those who have been logging.

He has also noted that houses have sprung up around where the pipes are situated pointing out that they were not there when the pipes were installed.

Magiagi residents from the sub-village of Ueligitone, which was severely affected by the floods, had suggested the dam break was the reason for the unprecedented flow and rise in water levels.

"There is no dam at Alaoa. What we have there is a header pond – a small water storage that can only take a certain volume of water – and there’s no confirmation that it was damaged or that it was the cause of the flash floods."

The only dam in the country is Afulilo and it stores 10 million cubic meters of water, he said.

Tologata said what happened was that there was just too much water when the rivers broke through that day.

He claimed that this is why government is very adamant about deforestation.

"Since there was too much logging in the area, when the heavy rains came, they washed all of those logs down towards the river and when it reached the header pond, it filled it up.

The header pond in the area was also filled with logs washed into storage by the water and this blocked the flow going out.

A suggestion by villagers that the EPC pipes running through the village be placed underground was not accepted by Tologata.

"It can be done, but the problem is its very expensive to do something like that and besides we cannot drill into the lava that makes up the ground in that area."

People must remember that when those pipes were placed there, not many people lived in that area, he said.

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