Korean government funds river bank stabilisation project

Minister for Waterways Dr Reddy and H.E. Ms Shin-hee Cho with senior staff of the Ministry of Waterways during the handover. Picture: SUPPLIED

WITH funding of over $428,550 from the Korean government, the Vetiver River Bank Stabilization Project (VRBSP) is expected to help address the prevalent issue of riverbank erosion in Fiji.

While receiving the cheque from Korean Ambassador to Fiji today, Minister for Waterways Dr Mahendra Reddy said flooding, river bank erosion, and sedimentation of waterways was a high political priority for Fiji – adding this was evident in Fiji’s national policy documents, the National Development Plan, and the National Adaptation Plan (NAP).

He said the document called for the implementation of river bank protection activities, which integrated ecosystem-based approaches with hard infrastructure, in particular, the use of riparian buffers.

“We are all aware that our nation is at the forefront of climate change and often experiences tropical cyclones and floods,” Dr Reddy said.

While reflecting on past activities carried out by the ministry to protect riverbanks in the country, Dr Reddy said this included the establishment of vetiver nurseries in all divisions to ensure sufficient high-quality planting stock was available and to allow for replication in other areas.

“Furthermore, this included the establishment of a number of pilot vetiver grass bank protection projects in the three divisions for demonstrations to communities.

“This project is designed to assist all beneficiaries and stakeholders to address the current prevalent issue of river bank erosion in Fiji, also helping local communities to improve their resilience to river bank erosion and mass failure of the riverbanks. It also demonstrates our dedication to ensure our rivers are healthy and pristine.”

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