Plight falls on deaf ears

RESIDENTS on the South of Taveuni still feel their plight for clean accessible drinking water has fallen on deaf ears even after raising their concerns with Government.

Yaqona exporter and Ura resident Abhishek Sapra said since 2013, South Taveuni had been facing serious problems with clean and safe drinking water, affecting as many as 4200 residents.

“Five years on this issue has still not been rectified while we do not have a government supplied drinking water,” he said.

“Numerous groups, agencies, and private residents had highlighted the issue regularly to both Water Authority of Fiji (WAF), local government, and those in Parliament but all of these have fallen on deaf ears.

“WAF has been doing their best by carting water to homes and estates on the southern end to ease this issue and we appreciate the help they have given us.

“However, nothing can be better than having clean, piped, water being supplied regularly to homes.”

Mr Sapra said people in the area were denied their right to clean accessible drinking water as stipulated in the Constitution .

“Millions had been spent on a desalination plant which still has not worked since the day of inception and rather sometimes there is water for a few days and then nothing for weeks while plant generators run day and night.”

Responding to these concerns, a statement from WAF, stated it was working towards securing a water source for the area, adding land needed for the pipeline alignment within Salialevu Estate was a freehold property on Taveuni.

The statement stated the authority was in negotiations with the property owners, through their trustees, on how best WAF could legally occupy the area of interest.

“Options under consideration are for WAF to either lease the area or to purchase the land outright,” the statement stated.

“The authority is currently discussing the formalisation of an appropriate agreement.

“The property owners have given their verbal support to WAF’s interest in supplying water for the neighbouring communities.”

The statement said work would commence once WAF received formal consent and approval from the property owners, which they expected to obtain before the end of this year.

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