It’s vital for life

WORLD Water Day was celebrated on March 22 and water is an important aspect of life with millions of people around the world recently commemorating the event.

In Fiji, World Water Day was celebrated around the country particularly in schools where the important message about water was shared among Fijians.

Water is an essential part of life and people need it in order to function and it also sustains life on planet Earth.

Minister for Environment Parveen Kumar said Fiji was blessed with access to clean water sources with Fiji being branded internationally for its natural artesian water.

“It is more than just an essential commodity to quench thirst or protect health, water is also vital for creating jobs, supporting economic, social, environmental and human development,” Mr Kumar said.

“Our 2018 theme ‘Nature for Water’ explores and brings about awareness on how we can use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st century.

“Environmental damage together with climate change is driving the water-related crisis we see around us.

“Floods, drought and water pollution are all made worse by degraded vegetation, soil and rivers. When we neglect our ecosystems, we make it harder to provide everyone with the water we need to survive and thrive.

“According to the United Nations World Water Development Report 2018, 2.1 billion lack access to safely managed drinking water services. Around 1.9 billion people live in potentially severely water-scarce areas,” he said.

“By 2050, this could increase to around 3 billion people. Furthermore the number of people a risk from floods is projected to rise from 1.2 billion today to around 1.6 billion in 2050.

‘Today, around 1.8 billion people are affected by land degradation and desertification. As such it is very important that we place high priority on the protection and management of our water resources through nature-based solutions.”

He said nature-based solutions had the potential to solve many of Fiji’s water challenges.

“We need to plant new forests, reconnect rivers to floodplains, restore wetlands to rebalance the water cycle and improve human health and livelihoods,” he said.

He said Government, in its commitment to improving water and sanitation services, had increased its budget provisions over the past 10 years.

“For this financial year a total budget of $306.9 million was provided to the Water Authority of Fiji to facilitate maintenance, upgrading and development of new water and wastewater projects,” he said.

He said it was also through partnership, co-ordination and dialogue that goals and commitments could be realised.

One of the schools that celebrated the event was Namamanuca Primary School on Yanuya Island.

Students and parents turned up in numbers to show their support for the event and the students of Namamanuca were fortunate to have representatives from the Water Authority of Fiji in the West represent at the event.

More Stories