Thursday, June 02, 2005

City of Toronto water expert returns from tsunami-ravaged Indonesia - Another expert leaves soon

Source: Big News Network

TORONTO, June 1 /CNW/ - A City of Toronto water and sanitation expert sent to Indonesia to assist with tsunami relief has written a report that UNICEF will use to further inform its work in rebuilding water supplies for the island population of Nias.

Ted Bowering, manager of policy and program development in Toronto Water, spent May 14-24 working directly with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the UN Development Program (UNDP), which are undertaking a major Emergency Response and Transitional Recovery (ERTR) program in the region. He supported the ERTR project team and worked with UNICEF to review and provide an assessment of water and sanitation needs in the towns of Gunung Sitoli, Teluk Dalam, Lahawe and Sirombo.

"The greatest challenge is to re-establish a sustainable water supply and delivery system in the area," said Bowering. "The earthquakes and tsunami have had a tremendous impact on the piped distribution systems and the people who rely on them. In Gunung Sitoli alone, the water pipes are broken in hundreds of places. Seventeen kilometres of water pipeline running from the water source to town also need to be rebuilt."

In his report, Bowering recommends:
- Reconstructing piped distribution systems to restore water delivery
systems that existed before the earthquake;
- Upgrading piped distribution systems to meet current demands for
- Upgrading the technical and management skills of water systems
operators in order to create technically and financially sustainable
operations; and
- Upgrading rural access to clean water, including the development of
local springs with small reservoirs and washing stations.

"Ted Bowering's efforts were directed to the place he could make the best, highest value contribution," said Angela Keller-Herzog, First Secretary (Development), Canadian Embassy in Indonesia. "We are all extremely pleased with his ability to produce some really concrete, directly useful work in challenging conditions."

"I am very pleased that a City of Toronto staff member could assist the people of Indonesia in this way," said Mayor David Miller. "Ted has the exact kind of dedication and expertise that the City should be providing to help rebuild the region."

To further assist with the region's transition to a sustainable water supply, the City will send Ed Yathindra, a senior project engineer, to Indonesia from June 11 to July 9. Employed with the City for more than 14 years, Yathindra is an expert in the new construction of sanitary storm sewers, water mains and roads. He will travel under the same CIDA direction as did Bowering.

"I look forward to giving something back to the region," said Yathindra. "I feel their pain because my community in Sri Lanka was affected by the tsunami as well."

Following the tsunami disaster last Boxing Day, the City of Toronto committed to offering mid- to long-term assistance in the region with expertise where needed most. Bowering's contribution was the first step in fulfilling that commitment.

The City continues to work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and CIDA, as well as its employees to develop a program for providing municipal expertise to assist the region in the rebuilding efforts.

The Canadian government has committed $425 million over five years toward a comprehensive response to tsunami. These funds will be used for relief and rehabilitation, as well as construction in the most affected countries.