Under-investment is primarily the reason why we got here – WAF CEO

Under-investment is primarily the reason why we got here – WAF CEO

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 25/04/2023
Water Authority of Fiji CEO Dr. Amit Chanan

Water Authority of Fiji CEO Dr. Amit Chanan says no ‘if’s’ or ‘buts’, under-investment is primarily the reason why we got here and there is a serious need to invest in our water infrastructure.

While speaking on fijivillage Straight Talk with Vijay Narayan, Dr. Chanan says for every 100 kilometres of water pipes, the global benchmark for burst mains is 13 but Fiji has more than 200 which is multiple times more than the global benchmark.

He says with the leaks they have, they lose close to $23 million just by the sheer fact that they have invested in chemicals, treatment, pumping and electricity and all that water gets lost.

Dr. Chanan says the only way to fix it is to invest in non-revenue water reduction plan.

He says right now, on their existing workforce and budget, the number of leaks they can fix is less than the new ones appearing so if they keep doing the same, they will never be able to catch up.

When asked if we have had band-aid solutions over the past years, Dr. Chanan says there is no point thinking about the past as they do have a solution which is support from the Asian Development Bank where they are going out to the market to get some global expertise to help catch up and make sure the network is secure and not leaking like a sieve.

Dr. Chanan says if they can get that investment right, and put in place a performance based contract, then they will be able to fix it.

He adds there are other utilities in the world who have been in similar situations and with the right investment and expertise, they were able to fix it in five years and Fiji can do the same.

WAF Chief Operating Officer, Seru Soderberg says there are about 4,000 kilometres of pipelines around Fiji and a significant volume of that asset is either asbestos concrete or old PVC pipes that have been in operation for about 20 to 30 years.

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