Water and Sanitation Sector 


In 2005, the Government of Samoa adopted a Sector Wide Approach to Planning (SWAP) for the Water and Sanitation Sector as part of its Sector Planning Initiative.  The SWAP has successfully brought together the Government, its Development Partners, and key stakeholders including the public and private sectors, NGOs and civil society groups to achieve common goals and priorities. 

The work of the Water and Sanitation Sector is guided by the Water for Life Sector Plans, the most recent Plan has been endorsed for 2016- 2020. These Plans aim to ensure “Reliable, clean, affordable water and basic sanitation within the framework of Integrated Water Resource Management, for all people in Samoa to sustain health improvements and alleviate poverty”.  The achievement of this Sector Goal will greatly contribute towards achieving the national goal “For every Samoan to achieve a better quality of life”. 

The European Union is the main development partner that is providing funding support for the activities of the Sector.

Six objectives have been prioritized to achieve the Sector's overarching goal. The Water Sector Coordination Unit is responsible for the overall coordination of the sector wide programme based on these objectives as follows:

  1. To strengthen sector governance to guide and sustain sector developments
  2. To improve watershed management and reliability of water resource data through integrated water resource management;
  3. To increase access and improved provision of reliable, clean and affordable water supply;
  4. To improve surveillance of drinking water quality and water borne diseases
  5. To increase access to improved basic sanitation and hygiene practices
  6. To strengthen effectiveness of flood mitigation measures to reduce incidence and magnitude of flooding in the CBD.

There are ten (10) Implementing Agencies (IAs) under the Water and Sanitation Programme, four (4) of which are Government Ministries including:

Two (2) are Government Corporations being;

And three (3) Non Governmental Organisations being;

  • Independent Water Schemes Association
  • Plumbers Association of Samoa
  • Samoa Red Cross Society

In addition, the Water and Sanitation Sector works in collaboration with its stakeholders such as;

  • Institute of Professional Engineers
  • Pacific Water and Wastewater Association
  • Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • Electric Power Cooperation
  • Ministry of Finance
  • Chamber of Commerce

Overview of Sector

Sector wide coordination is facilitated through the establishment of a robust coordination framework presented in Figure 1 below.  Additionally, the framework defines the reporting structure within the Sector.  The WSCU as part of its coordination role chairs the Technical Steering Committee which reports to the Joint Water Sector Steering Committee (Sector Apex Body).

Figure1 Sector Coordination Framework

The institutional framework in place is able to effectively coordinate and facilitate integration of planning, programming, implementation, monitoring and evaluation across the Sector.  This is achieved through a hierarchy of committees:

  • The Ministerial Coordination Committee (MCC) comprises Ministers from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Finance (MoF), Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development (MWCSD), Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure (MWTI) and respective Chief Executive Officers (CEOs).  This committee is the interface between Cabinet Development Committee, Cabinet and the Sector.  Their main task is to review policy issues affecting the Sector and advocate Sector issues at the political arena.
  • The Joint Water Sector Steering Committee (JWSSC) operates at the CEO level, and comprises CEOs from key Implementing Agencies (IAs), Private Sector and NGOs with representatives from key development partners and reports to the MCC on national issues.
  • Reporting to the JWSSC is the Technical Steering Committee (TSC) whose role is twofold; (i) to monitor technical and financial progress of sub-sector programs and (ii) to lead the development and / or review of Sector policies/strategies.  The TSC is made up of IA coordinators or chairs of each of the sub-sector committees. The TSC is chaired by the Water Sector Coordination Unit (WSCU).
  • Sub sector committees have been established for the following sub sectors which comprise the key technical areas of the Sector, each of which operates its own program of work, and sets its own goals, targets and outcomes:
    • Water Supply
    • Water Resources
    • Drinking Water Quality
    • Sanitation

Flood MitigationIn addition, the Governance Sub Sector provides a support and coordination role to the above sub sectors. The Governance sub sector also provides the link to Disaster Management (and the Disaster Management Office, within the MNRE), which under this Sector Plan, will have a greater focus and enhanced capacity.

Scope of Sector Implementing Agencies Development Programs


The domain of the sector includes the regulation, development and use of all fresh water resources as well as the receiving coastal waters in Samoa. Over the years, sanitation has been a priority issue in the sector and following endorsement of the National Sanitation Policy by the Cabinet Development Committee in February 2010, a policy framework is now in place to improve wastewater systems and management in Samoa and securing it as a priority issue in the sector. Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management are expected to have a growing impact on the sector and this needs to be mainstreamed in the new phase of the sector plan.

With the signing of a financing agreement with European Union under the 10th EDF for sector budget support from 2005-2015, the Samoa Government assumes ownership and leadership of sector development whilst development partners are continually encouraged to contribute to a government driven program. It is anticipated that sector budget support continues to root the water sector in a favourable public finance management and macroeconomic environment.

The transition to sector budget support led to a review of the existing institutional arrangements to ensure effective sector coordination and implementation of the sector wide programme. In doing so, care was taken to align the sector coordination framework with sectoral objectives, ensuring sector priorities are being addressed and measured against the sector performance management framework already in place.

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