FIGHTING the spread of typhoid, a group of American volunteers has provided materials and expertise working with villagers of Cakaudrove in building a better piped-water system.
The villagers of Vunikura, Loa and Buca volunteered their time as well and worked under the supervision of the group - Engineers Without Borders (EWB) San Francisco Professional Chapter Fiji Team in constructing piping systems and improved water reservoirs.
Team member Doris Quai Hoi said the Fiji team had worked with villagers in improving drinking water in Buca Bay for the last three years.
"In 2007, a typhoid fever outbreak struck the three villages and was attributed to villagers using water that had been contaminated with harmful bacterium," Ms Quai Hoi said.
"EWB-USA specifically helped these three villagers and the project began after being contacted by Mission at Natuvu Creek (near Vunikura Village). The goal of the project is to provide a safe and reliable supply of drinking water to these three villages," she said.
She said during the initial assessment trip in 2009, the EWB-Fiji team found many broken pipes and joint trenching with sewer lines which were contributing factors to poor water supply and cross contamination of water.
"Since 2010, the EWB-Fiji team has conducted two implementation trips to Buca Bay. The team has replaced the entire in-village water pipeline distributions systems for both Buca and Loa Village, redirected a major river-crossing pipe that was previously at risk for being washed out by the river in Vunikura Village, and installed a total of 13 biosand filters across the three villages," Ms Quai Hoi said.
"Biosand filters are a relatively simple and sustainable technology used to clean drinking water and consist of a plastic tank filled with gravel and sand (all materials that are locally available in the area). The biosand filters installed in Buca Bay have demonstrated successful water treatment removing 90 to 100 per cent of the harmful bacteria found in the water," she said.
Speaking on behalf of the villagers, Cakaudrove district representative Viliame Kabolo said they had been blessed with such assistance.
"It's a blessing in that villagers have also been taught a new trade of making biosand filters with no extra cost spent on materials as we used available materials around our villages."