Kumar: Water important resource, sustains life

School children march through Lautoka City to celebrate World Water Day yesterday. Picture: REINAL CHAND

School children march through Lautoka City to celebrate World Water Day yesterday. Picture: REINAL CHAND

FIJI is signatory to seven water related United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), says Infrastructure Minister Parveen Kumar.

Speaking at the World Water Day celebrations in Lautoka yesterday, Mr Kumar said water was an important natural resource that not only sustained life, but also helped create jobs, support economic, social, environmental and human development.

He said the seven SDGs Fiji was signatory to centre on five key areas.

“This entails goals in ending poverty and hunger, ensuring healthy lives, availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation, combating climate change and its impacts and conservation of our oceans, seas and marine resources,” he said.

“At the national level, Government through the 2013 Constitution, Sections 35 and 36 guarantees the right of every person to accessible and adequate sanitation and also the right to clean and safe water.”

According to Mr Kumar, Government had worked to improve access to safe, clean drinking water from the current 78 per cent coverage for Fiji and similarly for sanitation from the current 71 per cent.

“This has been achieved through fast tracking new and upgraded water mains and expansion, particularly into rural areas.”

Mr Kumar said one of the ways this was possible was through the increase in budgetary allocation to the Water Authority of Fiji (WAF).

For this financial year, Mr Kumar said $306.9million had been allocated to WAF to facilitate the maintenance, upgrade and development of various water and wastewater projects.