SEPTEMBER 15, 2015. In what could be the most important event in its 20-year history, the Pacific Water and Waste Water Association (PWWA) is meeting for its annual conference in Papua New Guinea from September 14 – 17 to explore critical issues that are posing a serious challenge to its member countries.
PWWA is comprised of 22 member countries operating 26 water and wastewater facilities.
The Association Chairman, Opetaia Ravai, who is also the CEO of the Water Authority of Fiji, said that the conference agenda is crowded with concerns that demand attention, even though there are no easy solutions.
“Climate change and the resulting rising of the sea level, the infiltration of sea water into boreholes affecting the smaller island countries, especially in the northern Pacific region. Lack of capacity building, tariff sustainability, serious infrastructure upgrade requirements, must be tackled and mitigated against to achieve our vision of “shaping a cohesive proficient and robust Pacific water sector.
“Improved communications are essential to share with policy makers, as well as the public, these challenges and developments that will more intensely affect all of us in the coming days.
“Because of these ever expanding issues we are reviewing the way we operate, to restructure the Secretariat, to explore the possibility of PWWA becoming a part of the CROP agencies enhancing our association with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.
He said that the conference would benefit from the inclusion of regional Government Infrastructure Ministers who are also in PNG attending the Pacific Forum meeting, and who will also attend PWWA. Included is Fiji’s Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Hon Vijay Nath gathering to discuss water issues and he will also be speaking on Thursday.
“I understand that they will be addressing issues confronting the region, and they will be directly involved in the discussions, and that alone has made this conference very, very important.”