Minister for Infrastructure, Jone Usamate says People’s Alliance Leader, Sitiveni Rabuka's claim that water is being carted to people from the Raintree Lodge lake is completely false.
He says Water Authority of Fiji advises all Fijians that the water in the lake is not fit for human consumption and at worse could have severe health impacts.
Usamate says WAF sees the urgent need to correct recent misinformation in the media in the interest of public health and safety of drinking water.
The Minister says he was alarmed by the misinformation being spread by Rabuka.
He adds that WAF maintains the highest standard of water testing, including constant testing by its laboratory teams, to ensure that the water WAF supplies is clean and safe for consumption.
Calling the misinformation as absurd, Usamate pointed out that there is no filling area in Colo-i-Suva for water carts.
He says Rabuka claims he will work hard to fix water issues, however, when their teams are actually physically fixing the issues, he spreads misinformation and seems to be trying to undermine the hard work for the sake of media sensationalism.
Usamate says Rabuka's comments about the planned Nadi water shut down are also irresponsible and quite frankly, an insult to the hardworking WAF team who are doing their duty to provide water to Fijians.
Usamate says Rabuka clearly does not appreciate the complexity of maintaining our water supply network while minimising supply disruptions.
He says Rabuka has picked up a disruption notice issued to customers in Nadi area last week that informed the customers of planned works on Saturday 24/09/2022.
Usamate says this was a major planned repair of a leaking valve on the trunk main that feeds nearly 70 percent of customers in Nadi area, from Votualevu to Marriott Resort.
The Minister says what Rabuka's misinformation fails to acknowledge is the meticulous planning by WAF that went behind doing this work.
He says while the water main supplying to 70 percent of customers in Nadi was taken off line, it did not simply mean that everyone in Nadi was left without water as implied in Rabuka’s claims.
He says firstly, the repair works were carried out after 2 weeks of notice and on the weekend instead of normal working days to minimise the impacts of water disruptions especially to the schools and businesses.
Before the works commenced on site, WAF team also carried out valve operations on affected distribution system to changeover the supply to critical areas such as Namaka CBD, Nadi Town, Nadi Hospital, Airport Control Tower, CAAF compound, and Nadi International Airport.
Usamate says these works were completed by Saturday afternoon and supply was restored to affected customers within the planned timeframe.
He also says WAF does not tell Fijians to store 3 days of drinking water because it is a sign of things to come but because it is common logical sense which we are taught as children.
He says this is the same message given by the water authorities across the world, the United Nations and the CDC.
WAF urges all Fijians to continue listening to the technical experts and storing water to ensure their families are protected during emergencies.
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