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Fiji Time: 2:13 PM on Monday 22 September

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Island runs dry

Luke Rawalai
Thursday, August 21, 2014

THE fate of a school resumming classes in the new term hangs in the balance while about 200 villagers have turned to the sea after water dried up on the island of Druadrua.

Druadrua Village headman Josateki Sikovanua said the only tap water in the village had gone dry a few days ago and villagers had started using seawater.

Mr Sikovanua said the only pond villagers were using for bathing and washing now had a terrible stench; driving villages to the seashore.

"We are pleading with authorities and government if they can lend an ear to our cry for water," he said.

"This is a necessity that no human should ever be deprived off and we are seeking assistance at least with water cartage.

"We have also heard the only school on the island is going to close operations in the third term if the water problem continues."

Mr Sikovanua said the village had a borehole but the manual pump was damaged.

"Maybe if we were given a generator this would enable us to access water at the borehole but right now we badly need water," he said.

Responding to villagers' pleas, the Water Authority of Fiji said it was waiting for the Commissioner Northern Division's reaction in amassing the necessary logistics for water cartage.

In a statement, WAF said its Northern team was on standby.

"Necessary survey works on the utilisation of the borehole on the island has been completed by the team in Labasa," WAF said.

"Once cost estimates are vetted and approved, the community will be informed of the details.

"Should they wish its prioritisation this year, they will need to fully fund the project but if full funding isn't possible, then they must organise themselves to pay their 10 per cent contribution before the 31st October, 2014, to warrant prioritisation in our 2015 construction program."

The statement said WAF was striving to produce the cost estimates well beforehand to allow the community ample time to come up with the 10 per cent contribution before the October 31, 2014.