Water issues and all

Hirdesh Nanad shows the cracked surface due to drought at his farm in Nadele Tavua. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

THE revelation that rain is expected to be below normal in October will be a concern for many people.

Fiji Meteorological Service director Ravind Kumar made the announcement.

While we are experiencing a dry spell, Mr Kumar said the most affected area in the country was the north-west part of Viti Levu.

Tavua and Rakiraki, he said, were experiencing 60 to 70 consecutive days of very little or no rain at all.

There was a reduction in rain from July to August, he said, which was unusual, “especially in the dry seasons”.

While this was a dry spell, he said, it was not a drought.

Water Authority of Fiji board director Kamal Gounder said the delivery of water to affected areas had started. He has urged people to store water should they face any disruptions.

Today, we find out about issues faced by people in parts of the Northern Division.

It is encouraging to see water delivery. However, it is a concern that water shortage is actually having an impact on the lives of people.

The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs had this on its website: On 28 July, 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.

But while we may have our share of issues, consider those faced by people around the world.

These appeared on the website as well: In rural Sub-Saharan Africa millions of people share their domestic water sources with animals or rely on unprotected wells that are breeding grounds for pathogens; The average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water is 6 kilometres; Average water use ranges from 200-300 litres a person a day in most countries in Europe to less than 10 litres in countries such as Mozambique; People lacking access to improved water in developing countries consume far less, partly because they have to carry it over long distances and water is heavy; For the 884 million people or so in the world who live more than 1 kilometre from a water source, water use is often less than 5 litres a day of unsafe water; At any one time, close to half of all people in developing countries are suffering from health problems caused by poor water and sanitation; Together, unclean water and poor sanitation are the world’s second biggest killer of children; and it has been calculated that 443 million school days are lost each year to water-related illness.

In the face of all that, we must acknowledge the fact that there are many people out there suffering from shortage of water in our country.

They need assistance and reassurance. It would also be in our best interest to be more proactive in playing our part in conserving whatever water we have right now.

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