WAF will not disconnect Fijians affected by COVID-19 despite reduction in budget allocation for 2020/2021

WAF will not disconnect Fijians affected by COVID-19 despite reduction in budget allocation for 2020/2021

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 21/07/2020

The Water Authority of Fiji says they will not disconnect Fijians who are genuinely impacted by COVID-19.

WAF has been allocated $195.4 million in the 2020/2021 National Budget compared to an allocation of $258.7 million in the 2019/2020 National Budget.

According to the 2020/2021 National Budget Estimates, water supply capacity in the Greater Suva Area is expected to increase by 26% and wastewater-treatment capacity by 164% through the Urban Water Supply and Wastewater Management Project is designed to improve vital urban infrastructure and services.

As part of the project, a new 40 megalitre treatment plant in Viria, Rewa and intake pumping station and 10 megalitre Waitolu reservoir and bulk water mains is expected to be completed in the next financial year.

Blended funding provided by the Asian Development Bank ($10.6 million), European Investment Bank ($6.9 million), the Green Climate Fund ($9.2 million), and local sources ($24.1 million) has made this immense project possible.

27,913 households have benefited from Government’s free water initiative, which will continue to expand in this financial year.

$4.8 million has been allocated to improve water distribution systems.

Government is providing $24.5 million to further improve water treatment quality; $1.5 million for the replacement of water meters; $2.6 million for non-revenue water; $7.3 million for the upgrade of wastewater treatment plants; and $4.5 million to upgrade the wastewater distribution system to ensure that Fijians within urban centres are connected to the wastewater reticulation system.

6.4 million has been allocated for Rural Water Supply Programme in order to provide access to clean water in rural communities.

$7.1 million is for electrical works at WAF’s water pump and wastewater stations and $0.9 million will be utilised to continue improvement of catchment and water source areas.

An allocation of $3.5 million is provided for rural water carting to communities in non-metered areas during periods of drought, water disruption and during the current recovery period from COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Authority Chairman Bhavesh Kumar says the 2020-2021 National Budget is a positive and encouraging step forward for Fiji as the nation braces for the global economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kumar says the government has presented a smart National Budget to soften the impact and create the conditions for a strong recovery.

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