Talents pooled for piped water at settlement

Maika Vakamelei (right) and cousin Jone Natau are grateful they finally received water at their doorsteps in Nalesutale Settlement Sabeto Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

A Nadi community that has been living without piped water for more than 70 years used the COVID-19 crisis to do something about it.

Residents of Nalesutale settlement in Sabeto, Nadi have been surviving on river and rainwater which they collect and store in tanks — a long and arduous process — for more than seven decades.

When the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many skilled workers losing their jobs, the residents decided to pool their talents and resources and with the assistance of the Water Authority of Fiji, made piped water a reality.

Maika Vakamelei, a resident, said 10 households now had running water in their homes.

“A lot of us have been at home for a few weeks so we decided that we would do a few things for our settlement and the first project was our water supply,” he said.

“Our parents and grandparents lived here and all they survived on was water from the river.

“Not many of us were fortunate enough to get water tanks, so we had to do everything in the nearby river or store water when it rained.”

Mr Vakamelei said laid-off construction workers, plumbers and resort employees worked with technicians from WAF to lay out water pipes that could supply water straight to their homes.

“It took us a few days but we managed to do it with the help of the Water Authority workers who supplied us with the water pipes.

“We did all of the work ourselves and managed to set up taps in every house.

“Life is much better now that we have water in our homes.

“Now that this has been completed, we plan to do other projects including a large scale farm for all of our families to feed us during these very challenging times.”

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