ONLY four out of 10 people in rural areas have access to metered water supply.
A report on Children in Fiji launched by the United Nations Children's Fund said that even though the use of metered water had increased since 1986 in both rural and urban areas, there were important differences between the two areas in terms of access.
"Only 37 per cent of the rural population had access to metered water compared to 95 per cent of the urban population," the report said.
This means 258,466 people out of the total rural population of 410,262 are without proper access to metered water. The 37 per cent that did have access accounted for 151,796 of the rural population.
The report said equitable access to adequate water supply and sanitation was of fundamental importance and would speed the achievement of the millennium development goals.
Water Authority of Fiji general manager Taito Delana had said during the launch of the Rural Water and Sanitation policy in Suva last week that WAF was promulgated to supply wholesome water to everyone.
He said water project requests from rural communities should be submitted to the Prime Minister's office upon which survey teams would be sent to make their analysis.
"The community would contribute 10 per cent to the total cost of the project and the government pays the balance," he said.
Mr Delana said the annual budget for rural water projects ranged from $2-$3 million depending on the number of schemes paid for.
The survey teams would inspect the layout of the site, the sufficiency of the yield, the adequacy of the size of the reservoir and pipeline capacity.
Mr Delana said the monitoring of the implementation of rural water schemes was also important.
Mr Delana said the annual budget for rural water projects ranged from two to three million dollars depending on the number of schemes paid for.
There is now one connection for each household in every water scheme and Mr Delana said this was an improvement from years back when a few households in Fiji villages would rely on one connection only.
The authority currently has 2490 rural water schemes, he said.