What has been experienced in terms of water cuts by Suva-Nausori residents over this weekend is a direct result of years of under-investment and lack of long-term planning for water services by the Bainimarama Government despite 16 years of misrule.
That's the comment of Minister for Public Works, Meteorological Services, and Transport Ro Filipe Tuisawau.
He says while the Suva-Nausori population has grown and significant urban drift has taken place, the state of water infrastructure has been allowed to deteriorate.
Ro Filipe says they have inherited a water supply system for Fiji’s capital city, with no redundancy in the system to withstand rainfall variation or even to carry out essential repairs without impacting the whole city and impacting people’s lives.
He also says that as the Minister in charge, he stresses that this situation must be rectified, and the Government will commit itself to improve this situation in its 4-year term.
Ro Filipe adds that he has instructed the CEO to carry out an urgent review of the state of asset management of other critical assets within Suva-Nausori, to ensure this Government can urgently invest in critical asset improvement works needed to avoid such incidents in the future and this is already in progress.
Ro Filipe will visit the Waila Water Treatment Plant today and meet with the WAF management to discuss current operational efficiencies and the Capital Investment Plan for the Suva-Nausori water system.
He says right now, the WAF team’s focus is to ensure that all systems fully recover, and he will closely follow the progress.
He further says that once they have fully recovered, his focus will shift to ensuring that WAF has an investment plan ready to build a good standard water supply for the Capital City, not one that is hanging together by a piece of string.
The Minister says the Rewa Water Supply Project in Viria will partly alleviate the situation, but significant investments in pipe upgrades, pumps, additional river intakes, dams, and water treatment facilities, including wastewater and additional reservoirs, will be needed in and around Suva City.
He adds that they have already begun preliminary scoping, feasibility and engagements with financiers and development partners including his direct approach to WAF as Minister.
Meanwhile the Water Authority of Fiji has restored supply to 70 percent of the Suva-Nausori System following the planned shutdown at Waila Water Treatment Plant on Friday.
Water supply restoration works are still in progress within the Nasinu System.
Ro Filipe says the Nasinu and Tovata areas have recovered from yesterday, with some small areas yet to fully recover within these two systems, which is being mitigated through further line flushing of the system.
He says all recovery works moving forward are now focused on Sakoca, Tacirua, Upper Princes Road to Colo-i-Suva and the greater Valelevu area to complete full restoration works.
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