The Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) has been invited to make presentations at the first-ever, weeklong ‘Water and Sanitation, Hygiene’ (WASH) Summit, which is being held at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi from today (21/05) to Friday (25/05).
The summit has been organised in partnership between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, with the support of UNICEF.
While officiating at opening of the summit, Minister for Waterways, Honorable Dr. Mahendra Reddy, said that the Fijian Government is committed to providing water and sanitation access to all ordinary Fijians no matter where they live.
“Fiji had launched its five-year and 20-year National Development Plan in 2017, and has set the target of 100 percent of Fiji’s urban population having access to clean and safe water by 2021, and rural and maritime areas by 2030. Similarly for the sanitation sector, 70 percent of the population is targeted to have access to improved sanitation and centralised sewerage systems within the next 20 years,” said Minister Reddy.
The summit is providing participants with a platform to discuss the way forward for Fiji’s water and sanitation services. During the WASH Summit, partners will develop a joint plan in line with the national policy to support the goal of providing the entire population of Fiji with access to clean water and sanitation facilities.
The participating partners include representatives from the Ministries of: Economy; Infrastructure and Transport; Health and Medical Services; Lands and Mineral Resources; Education, Heritage and Arts; iTaukei Affairs; Maritime and Rural Development, National Disaster Management, and the Ministry of Waterways as well as the Fiji Bureau of Statistics and WAF.
Non-government participants include Adventist Disaster Relief Agency (ADRA);
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia (DFAT); Fiji National University (FNU); Fijian Teachers Association (FTA); Live and Learn Environmental Education (LLEE); Oxfam Fiji; Partners in Community Development Fiji (PCDF); Save the Children Fiji; United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Minister Mahendra Reddy said sustainable and viable sewerage and sanitation options would be explored to facilitate access in rural areas, so that every Fijian household has access to a proper sewerage treatment system or facility.
He said that Fiji has come a long way “…and we are now holistically addressing our water issues by also addressing wastewater, sanitation and hygiene.”
Minister Mahendra Reddy highlighted that 78 percent of Fiji’s population (135,498 households) has access to a proper water supply and 25 percent (43,281 households) of Fiji’s population has access to centralised sewerage systems.
Representing WAF at the summit, Graduate Engineer Rural, Saimoni Waibuta and Community Engagement Officer Central Eastern, Alisi Senikuta, presented on ‘Rural WASH’ while WAF’s Senior Engineer, Planning and Design, Marau Vuli and Team Leader Water Quality Laboratory, Mosese Nariva, presented on ‘Urban WASH’.
Today (22/05) participants will be taken on site visits to Nawaicoba Nursing Station and Namaka Health Centre, as well as to Deshbandhu Vitogo School, Lautoka School for Special Education, Lautoka SDA Primary and Qalitu Primary School in the Western Division. Visits will also be made to the emergency centre at Tavua Public School as well as to Narikaso Village, Mataso in Ra, where Drinking Water Safety Standards (DWSS) are in place.