Before the Fono recessed after last Monday’s session, a bill proposing a 5% tax on imported bottled water was introduced in the House by Fofo Representative Puletu Dick Koko.
The faipule wants proceeds from the proposed tax to go toward upgrading, beautifying, and cleaning the Leone waterfall, a natural spring site called Punaloa where a legend about an eel is based and used to be a tourist attraction in the early 1970s.
Puletu says historically the Leone waterfall was the source of fresh water for the villages of Leone and Vailoa.
The Navy built the reservoir which was used daily to supply water for the naval air strip situated at the present site of Midkiff Elementary and Leone High School.
The spring water site, Punaloa is on the way to the Leone waterfall.
The Leone faipule writes in the preamble of the bill that, after the Navy left the territory in the 1900s the Samoa Tours travel agency conducted tours for cruise ship visitors to the waterfall.
But while the waterfall is still cascading today, the surrounding area is rundown and in dire need of restoration.
Puletu says the spring water site also needs to be beautified, and the road to the waterfall which is dilapidated, has deep pot holes, is narrow, doesn’t have sidewalks and dangerous for pedestrians and vehicles to use, needs to be fixed.
He’s proposing that the 5% tax on imported bottled water, be used to carry out the necessary work to turn the waterfall and spring water into tourist attractions once again.
Bottled water, like all other imports for resale, is now subject to the 5% excise tax.
Except for Vaimalu and Islands Choice water which are bottled locally, all other brands of water now available in stores, would be subject to the additional 5% tax if Puletu’s bill is passéd.