AFTER 54 years of well and river water sources, the 140 villagers of Delasui Village in Tailevu will now have access to properly treated drinking water.
This is after the launch of the $105,000 Chinese-funded dam and the installation of a chlorination unit to purify water before it is channelled to the village.
Village headman Beranadino Turaga said they had been subjected to intermittent water supply because most of the villagers resided on elevated areas.
"Our women have had to go to the river to do their washing, now they are able to do their washing by just walking to the tap," Mr Turaga said.
WAF general manager projects Timoci Turaga said the new dam was now situated in an area that would sufficiently provide water to the villagers.
WAF project construction team leader Nemani Waqanivalu said the concrete tank had a total capacity of 200,000 gallons that was more than enough for the village.
A statement from WAF yesterday said about 40 men from the village took part in the digging and laying of pipes from the dam site to the new reservoir site.
WAF acting chief executive officer Opetaia Ravai acknowledged the villagers' hard work and women for providing food for the workers during the construction phase.
While launching the new dam, Chinese ambassador to Fiji Huang Yong said he was moved by the villagers' spirit of self-reliance when he heard that Delasui villagers would build the project by themselves.
"Today, your hard work for half a year finally pays off. My government is always willing to support the people of Fiji's effort to pursue better life. We are glad to have this opportunity to contribute to this project by providing some fund from our limited budget," Mr Yong said.
Mr Ravai said WAF planned to install a chlorinator in all rural projects to ensure purified drinking water was supplied to rural dwellers.
"Close to 2000 rural water systems still supply untreated water. WAF wants to install these chlorinators because we want those living in the rural areas to enjoy the same luxury as those in urban areas," he said.