The conservation of waterways is essential for sustainable fresh water supply, flood mitigation, agricultural activity and Fijian households.

Its protection is equally important for
future generations, ensuring the longevity of the benefits provided by waterways
to plants, animals and humans continues and is preserved.

This was highlighted by the Minister for
Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Hon. Dr.
Mahendra Reddy during the 2020 International Day of Action for Rivers at
Bilalevu in Sigatoka today.

“I
urge all of you, to understand the importance of protecting our riverbanks.
It’s our home. It’s your home to take responsibility of, the Government is here
to assist you, but you need to take the initiative yourselves.

“We
now have to start a National movement on how we can protect our waterways not
only for ourselves, but also for our future generations as our entire
activities are dependent on waterways,” he said.

Minister
Reddy adds the individual contribution from communities and settlements would
be vital as major primary activities such as agriculture was dependent on
waterways.

“The
Ministry cannot do it alone but we will develop frameworks, protocols and
policies but it will need to be implemented by individuals. You all need to
take ownership in protecting our waterways,” he said.

Minister
Reddy further reiterated human activities such as cultivation was the major
contributor towards damage on waterways.

Members
of the public are also being urged to practice sustainable management practices
and to consider nature based solutions to protect waterways.

As
part of the celebration, Hon. Reddy launched the 50km river bank protection
project, using the nature based solution – vertiver grass, which will be
planted across the country to protect riverbanks from erosion.

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