Fiji Time: 11:42 AM on Saturday 4 July

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When water becomes an issue

Fred Wesley
Saturday, July 04, 2015

IT is encouraging to know that the Ministry of Agriculture has completed the mapping of areas affected by the dry spell.

Principal agricultural officer West Vinesh Kumar said the mapping process was needed to identify areas in need of urgent assistance.

In yesterday's edition, Commissioner Western Manasa Tagicakibau confirmed the prolonged dry weather was already impacting 23,400 people in the Western Division.

He confirmed more than 3000 households had asked for help as water sources begin to dry up.

The requests, he revealed began filtering in two months ago and he expected the number to increase dramatically. The dry conditions are expected to continue until the end of the year, according to the Nadi Weather Office.

Apparently those already affected include communities in the hinterland of Ra and Nadroga Navosa, as well as Vatulele and islands in Yasawa and the Mamanuca Group.

Daily requests, he said, had been coming in over the past two months from rural dwellers, who were most affected by the dry spell.

Unless someone has found a way for rain to fall when we want it to, the reality is that there will not be any easy answers for solving a water crisis.

It is encouraging to know that plans are in place though to help those in need of water.

"With the help of the map we will then be able to identify reliable water sources where the farmers can source water from during the dry weather," Mr Kumar said.

"We will also be inspecting these water sources to see if we need to do anything to them like set up sand bags along streams to increase the water levels."

He said livestock farms would also be assisted and farmers had been advised on what to do.

"At the moment some of our officers have gone out to conduct mulching exercises for farmers. This will retain moisture in the crops. So in a nutshell we have worked out our strategies to prepare ourselves for this dry period and we are starting to roll them out."

Clearly we are not alone though.

The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015 warned of serious water shortages within 15 years.

It warned the world will only have 60 per cent of the water it needs by 2030 if there were no significant global policy changes.

It stands to reason then, that as our population increases, so will our demand for water even if we have not hit

"crisis" stage right now.

Would working out ways to recycle waste water aid in reducing or slowing down the impact of any future water crisis then?

The onus though is on us as individuals to use water wisely now.

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