RURAL water committees have been empowered to oversee the management of water systems once they're implemented in their areas, says Water Authority of Fiji spokeswoman Kelera Serelini.
Ms Serelini said decisions made by the committees in regard to their water supply were usually independent and the authority was not involved.
Her comments follow a request made by a group of residents at Nagigi in Labasa for more water tanks as a result of intermittent supply. "There are certain areas whose water systems are being looked after and managed by rural water committees," she said.
She gave the Nararo committee as an example.
Committee manager Waisele Kanavo said they disconnected some water metres as a result of misuse of water during the dry season.
"The committee has its own constitution which clearly states that any consumer who misuses water will face a penalty of $50 along with the disconnection of (their) metre.
"During the dry season letters were issued to the 92 consumers in advance to inform them to use water wisely," Mr Kanavo said.
"Some of them were still found watering their gardens, washing their vehicles and these are some forms of misusing water."
Mr Kanavo said the constitution was agreed to by the residents and it was impractical for them to complain about their metres being disconnected after they failed to comply with it.
"When it comes to such seasons, we advise the residents to prioritise their lives and not their gardens and vehicles. After paying the penalty, they will have to pay for another $20 as a reconnection fee.
"This is still cheap as they only pay $5 for water bills in one a year."