EXTRACTION of gravel and boulders from rivers has been cited as one of the contributing factors to flooding.
This was among other issues discussed during a briefing with stakeholders and senior government officials at the Commissioner Northern's conference room in Labasa on Monday.
Project manager for the "Integrated Water Resources Management Nadi Demonstration" Vinesh Kumar said it was important for people to follow proper channels before embarking on the activity.
"If people are not careful, the damage caused to the environment as a result of such extraction will be severe," Mr Kumar said.
"First, people must have the licence to extract. An environmental impact assessment should also be conducted.
"It's also important for people to adhere to the guidelines. If not, the river banks and beds will be damaged and also the habitat of the living organisms."
When people are not careful of such extractions, Mr Kumar said soil would continue to erode leading to environmental disaster.
"People should also preserve trees that grow along the river banks."