Editorial comment – Let’s play our part

One of three wells at Yaqeta village where 111 households depend on well water.Picture:REPEKA NASIKO

THE revelation that about 40 per cent or 18 out of the 45 water sources in Fiji are at “critical status” should be cause for concern.

Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) general manager customer services Sekove Uluinayau highlighted this during a stakeholder consultation in Nadi yesterday.

There is concern in the Northern Division, which is the worst hit division. Nine of its 14 water sources are at critical levels. Five out of 17 water sources in the Central/Eastern division, are at critical level and four of 14 water sources in the West are affected.

Mr Uluinayau explained that the North was the worst hit region because sources there were smaller compared with the West and Central regions so they tended to dry faster. It was why most of them are at a critical status he said.

The issue of water shortage, while it may not have reached the stage where the powers that be order water rationing around the country with immediate effect, does raise some concern though. It makes sense that we must be part of the solution.

We must endeavor to be proactive and play our part in minimising water wastage. That means making appropriate decisions to use water wisely.

And that obviously means focusing on how we can minimise unnecessary wastage.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs had this on its website: On July 28, 2010, through Resolution 64/292, the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognised the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights.

The Resolution calls upon States and international organisations to provide financial resources, help capacity-building and technology transfer to help countries, in particular developing countries, to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.

In November 2002, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted General Comment No. 15 on the right to water.

Article I.1 states that “The human right to water is indispensable for leading a life in human dignity. It is a prerequisite for the realization of other human rights”.

Comment No. 15 also defined the right to water as the right of everyone to sufficient, safe, acceptable and physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic uses.

We realise there are people living it tough around the country. Water shortage is a harsh reality of their daily lives.

The challenge is on the powers that be to supply them with clean water. That obviously isn’t going to be an easy task.

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