Drought takes toll in the North

Galoa grandmother Milasiga ponders on where to get their next supply of water from, after water ran out on Monday. Picture: Luke Rawalai

THE prolonged dry spell in the North is taking its toll on islands which already had limited access to water.

Villagers on Galoa Island in Lekutu, Bua are spending $39 a week on fuel to access piped water from a system connected to mainland Vanua Levu which can only be accessed during low tide.

In 2013, the villagers thought their water woes would end when they had pipes connecting them to the mainland but the connection lasted only two months after the pipe broke midway between the island and the mainland.

As the dry spell takes its toll in the North, the villagers are becoming more desperate for water.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was informed of their plight three months ago and ordered officials to resolve the issue immediately.

In an interview on Monday this week, head of the yavusa Galoa Napolioni Saraqia said since the opening of their water system in 2013 — for which the villagers had paid $28,000 as contribution — villagers have had to spend more than $5000 and employ their own divers to continue fixing the underwater piping system.

“After a part of the piping system broke close to land, villagers now access clean drinking water from the pipe only during low tides,” he said.

“As a result, I have banned public gatherings on the island except for funeral gatherings because of the water woes we are currently facing.”

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