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FLOODING AND HIGH TURBIDITY CAUSE WATER DISRUPTIONS.

The Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) would like to advise our customers, especially those living in the Suva-Nausori corridor, that the current water disruptions being experienced have been primarily due to the dramatically increased turbidity, or dirt in the water, caused by the recent heavy rainfall.

WAF Chief Operating Officer, Seru Soderberg, said that during periods of heavy rainfall, the most common problem faced by WAF is flooding and the increase in raw water turbidity.

“It is important to understand that there are certain aspects to water production that are simply out of our control, with the main one being the weather. Excessive turbidity is experienced at the beginning of every rainy season as silt and dust from the dry period gets deposited into major rivers by floodwaters and runoffs,” said Mr Soderberg.

“The current conditions are causing flooding and high turbidity which in turn lead to pump breakdowns, dam blockages, and similar issues that then affect water supply productions and may occur at the most inopportune time.”

“Our raw water sources consist of dams, rivers, and creeks, which are surrounded by masses of land. Heavy rain loosens the soil or any other material on these masses of land which then gets washed into the water, thereby increasing turbidity.”

“When there is high turbidity such as this, as a health and safety measure, we have to reduce the inflow of raw water into our treatment plant. This is to ensure that there is proper settling time before treatment, so we can maintain water quality at a level that is suitable for consumption by our customers.”

“Due to the reduced inflow, we have reduced production, which in turn affects reservoir levels – in this case, for the Tamavua Reservoir, which also supplies other reservoirs downstream, leading to the current water disruptions.”

Additionally, any attempt to try and process high turbidity water in larger volumes could also damage #WAF equipment and result in far longer and extended disruptions.

“In treating very turbid or dirty water, maintaining water quality at a level that is suitable for consumption by our customers has always been our goal and while we understand that reduced production is frustrating, it has to be done or the consequences will be much worse.”

Mr Soderberg further added that while the control of human activities within the water catchment areas was one way in which turbidity issues could be resolved, this option is not available at the Waimanu River.

“This is because multiple villages and communities are located upstream of the intake and the residents are involved in farming activities, as either a main source or supplementary source of livelihood,” he said.

To cater to increasing demands and reduce disruptions, WAF has invested in several projects to build resilience and capacity, which includes the $270 million Rewa River Water Supply Scheme which will boost capacity by an additional 40 million litres a day of water for the Greater Suva area, once completed in the next year.

“We are constantly seeking to expand and improve our service provision, and this will expand the water supply through the construction of a new supply intake on the Rewa River with an associated water treatment plant, pumping station, reservoir, and transmission main to connect to the existing system,” said Mr Soderberg.

“In the meantime, we ask for the patience and understanding of our customers. Until water supplies normalise, water carting is being provided for affected customers, and can be requested by calling the shortcode 1507, which is available on all mobile networks.”

“Our key point of action before a natural disaster actually occurs, is to be proactive and become as prepared as possible by having in our own storage, enough water to last at least 2 to 3 days for the purpose of use during emergencies.

“We also encourage our customers to invest in storage containers or water tanks connected to the water system for storage and backup supply during any unplanned disruption that may arise due to emergency works or natural disasters.”

“Our technicians will be out there doing their best to rectify issues as and when they happen but a great deal of care is taken to ensure that they are able to do their work safely – your personal storage of water is meant to see you through during those times when restoration works are in the process.”

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How much is the Lodgment fee?

  • House under construction / Vacant land / Commercial or Industrial
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