A group photograph of the participants after Day 1 of the two-day training.Photo SUPPLIED

A total of Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) 52 technical staff received training on the requirements of the Environment Management Act (2005) at two one-day workshops conducted by Facilitator and Acting Principal Environment Officer of the Ministry of Environment, Ms Mere Leba Senibulu.

“The purpose of the training was to build the capacity of new staff who have joined us recently as they were not aware of the Environment Management Act and how it is applicable to WAF’s operations, both in water and wastewater services.

“All WAF Project Managers, Project Leaders and Team Leaders need to be aware of the requirement to undertake Environment Impact Assessments (EIA) before any future project and construction takes place,” said WAF Chief Executive Officer, Mr Opetaia Ravai,

Mr Ravai said WAF looks forward to their continued cooperation with the Ministry of Environment in obtaining the correct approvals when building water and wastewater treatment plants in the future.

Ms Senibulu said, “We actually work together on most of the projects undertaken by WAF that are funded by the ADB. Existing wastewater treatment plants are regulated under the Environment Management Act (2005) and two subsidiary acts: the Environment Waste Disposal and Recycling Regulation, and the Environment Management EIA Process Regulation (2007). These laws control any new proposed developments that are going to be undertaken by the Water Authority of Fiji. The training informs WAF participants of the requirements as set out by these Acts.

The training also covered the conditions and monitoring required for the issue of waste disposal permits to the wastewater treatment plants around the country.

Mr Ravai said if such training was essential for staff to understand the Act, as failure to do so could result in WAF being prosecuted and paying “hefty fines” under the Act.

Representatives from the WAF Construction Unit, Wastewater, Water Projects, and the Production Team participated, with 22 staff attending Day 1 held at the Ministry of Civil Service’s Centre for Training and Development in Nasese (15/11), and 30 staff attending Day 2 held at the WAF Training Room, National Head Office, Nasinu.