Two teams from the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management departed Suva on the weekend with more than 300,000 litres of water to be taken to villages in Yanuca, Vatulele, Yasawa, Mamanuca and Vatulele under the Ministry’s Emergency Water Supply (EWS) programme.
The team that is now carting water to villages in Yasawa, Mamanuca and Malolo left on a 15-day deployment onboard the MV Vunilagi. The team also took with them a desalination plant to help relieve fresh water problems on some of these islands.
The team that is now carting water to villages on Yanuca and Vatulele will be on a 7-day deployment before returning to Suva to refill water tanks and resuming water cartages to these maritime islands.
The MV Vatulawa has so far transported and distributed water to the village, school and nursing station on Yanuca Island, while the MV Vunilagi had also distributed water to Yasawa-I-Rara Village and the school and nursing station on the island as part of their water cartage exercise.
The Ministry also recently commenced its water cartage exercise for Rural Areas in the Central Division. The exercise supplements water carting already carried out by the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF).
The operation was overseen by the Commissioner Central Division, while the two deployments to the maritime islands are being overseen by the Commissioner Western Division.
The water trucks used in the Central Division were organised by improvising water pumps, water tanks and trucks from the Ministry and also those of other Ministries that were made available for the operation.
The water cartages in the Central Division targeted critical areas that had shortages of drinking water.
The water trucks covered villages in Tailevu and Naitasiri including Naikalawaca, Naisausau, Nakorolevu, Tubalevu, Logani, Tobuniqio, Kumi, Naduri, Naiciri Settlement, Waidalice, Naikasakasa, Naloto, Lomaivuna, Wailase, Nabaitavo, Waibau, Wainiuraura Settlement and many other villages within the division’s boundary that had been identified as some of the prioritised areas.
The Office of the Commissioner Central Division had identified 34 communities with a total population of 10,805 and 2,074 households that needed Emergency Water Supply (EWS).
As of last Thursday, more than 400,000litres of water had been carted to rural communities in the Central Division.
Meanwhile, the Ministry has been allocated a total of $300,000 in the 2020/2021 National Budget for EWS.
Water cartages under EWS are carried out by the Ministry when there is unavailability of safe and clean drinking water in rural and maritime communities.
Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Inia Seruiratu said the Fijian Government would continually strive to fulfill the right of every Fijian to clean and safe water in adequate quantities.
Over the last 3 years alone, the Ministry has spent $1.2 million through its Emergency Water Supply programme by carting water from Viti Levu and Vanua Levu to drought hotspots in the maritime islands.