By ANA MADIGIBULI
ENORMOUS challenges lie ahead for the country and the Government to consider in terms of water supply development, construction, storage and distribution, says Public Utilities Minister Captain Timoci Natuva.
In opening the Water Supply Management Training in Suva on Tuesday, Captain Natuva said the costs for water infrastructure were huge for the Government, and are becoming unbearable for those that could least afford it.
"These challenges have financial implications for many of our communities, in terms of water development, construction and distribution," he said.
"Towards this end, under the 2014 approved budget, Government has provided the Water Authority of Fiji a total budget of $130million for the construction and distribution of water supply in Fiji. Of this total, $59million is for operational experiences and $71million for capital construction and capital project costs."
He said in terms of satisfying public demand for water supply infrastructure, the funding was still considered insufficient.
He said the Rural Water and Sanitation Policy, which was discussed at the training, were borne out of a GAP analysis by his ministry on Government's achievement to water and sewerage services under the mandate.
"The rural population was found to be lagging behind in terms of access to clean water and efficient sewerage services.
"This policy was not developed in isolation as it came to fruition after widespread consultation with all relevant stakeholders in Fiji.
"From this GAP analysis, it was confirmed that an enabling over-arching water legislation to cover all the issues about water allocations and water tariffs in Fiji is lacking"
He said to address this problem, the ministry would also undertake review of existing water laws to streamline various stakeholder functions and power to effective water and sanitation management in Fiji.