DESPITE reports of water-borne diseases in the area, Batiri villagers on Vanua Levu continue to drink untreated water from a pond overgrown with algae and plants.
This is because they do not have access to a piped water system.
Headman Jone Naiqiso told this newspaper the village tank was located about one kilometre inland, overlooking the pond.
"There was an initial water source that used to supply water to the tank but because of the dry spell experienced over the years, the source had dried up," Mr Naiqiso said.
"We then resorted to the pond using a generator to pump water up to the tank. The villagers usually contribute certain amount of money for fuel but we have now come to a stage where people are reluctant to give anymore since they also have their families to support.
"Sometimes when we use the generator, it takes two or three days to fill the tank to the brim."
He said the pond also dried up during the dry season and this prompted villagers to use the river for bathing, washing, drinking and even for their toilets.
Mr Naiqiso said three cases of typhoid, diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases were reported from the village early this year.
"The Health Ministry confirmed to us that it was the result of drinking untreated water. We are just advising the villagers to boil their drinking water before they consume it for health reasons.
"We are in dire need of a proper piping system, pump, catchment and even tanks to help us with our water supply. We are humbly appealing to the government and even stakeholders and donors to look into our plight and help with our water supply."
Water Authority of Fiji CEO Opetaia Ravai said they were aware of the matter and would look into it.