Chunk of Waterways ministry budgetary allocation earmarked for capital projects

Agriculture and Environment Minister Mahendra Reddy. Picture: RAMA/FILE

OUT of the $23.8milllion allocated to the Ministry of Waterways, 75 per cent of the allocation would be utilised on numerous capital projects across nine programs.

Minister for Agriculture, Rural and Maritime Development, Waterways and Environment Dr Mahendra Reddy confirmed this during his 2019-2020 budget address in Parliament yesterday.

Services offered by the Ministry of Waterways and Environment will be strengthened in the next fiscal year.

“The ministry through the Department of Waterways will continue to implement technical and engineering measures in the 2019/2020 fiscal year,” Mr Reddy said.

Activities such as drainage and flood protection, smart agricultural irrigation solutions, waterway dredging, river embankment, and coastal management activities would be a major focus for the ministry.

He said the Coastal Erosion Protection Works Programme, which has received an allocation of $5million in the 2019/2020 fiscal year, will cover a total of 10 projects across the country.

“Ecosystem-based approaches such as the use of Vetiver grass for riverbank stabilisation will also be carried out,” he said.

Mr Reddy highlighted the Drainage and Flood Protection program, which ensured necessary actions to improve communities’ resilience towards floods and riverbank erosion would also be a priority area with an allocation of $3million for the Central, Northern and Western divisions.

Additionally, $7.95m has been allocated for extensive preparatory works for Nadi River Flood Alleviation Project, which will widen the river to protect surrounding areas from flooding; works include geotechnical analyses and detailed design works for the widening of the river, construction of existing bridges, ring dikes, and retention ponds.

In other projects for the Ministry of Waterways and Environment, the ministry has been allocated $1.5million to address watershed and flood mitigation problems while $1million has been allocated for drainage and farmlands.

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