After extensive work by the Water Authority of Fiji’s (WAF) ground teams, water supply has been restored to the majority of metered customers in the Northern Division.
WAF teams have been hard at work, including throughout the night, to complete restoration works, and Labasa, Seaqaqa, Dreketi, Vunivau, and Nabouwalu have had their water supply restored.
“Once it became clear that Tropical Cyclone Yasa was going to hit Fiji, the Authority made comprehensive preparations in anticipation of the impact it would have on our systems,” said WAF CEO, Barry Omundson.
“It was critical for us to proactively reduce the amount of water supply disruptions that Fijians would have to face afterwards and we placed assets like generators on the ground beforehand. Since the cyclone, we have deployed two separate teams for rapid assessment and repair of the most critical issues, as well as necessary machinery.”
Mr Omundson said WAF is committed to restoring water services as soon as possible, bearing in mind all safety precautions, and has enlisted the assistance of teams from other divisions to help with this.
To ensure that those in affected areas still have a supply of safe and clean drinking water, the Authority has deployed an additional 11 water carting trucks shipped from the Central Division, bringing the total water carting trucks to 35.
Mr Omundson said that it is understandable that people are distressed after the toll that the cyclone has taken but restoration and repair works take time in the aftermath of a natural disaster, especially of this magnitude.
“Many essential utilities suffer prolonged disruptions after a disaster like this hits and our teams are working tirelessly to restore services. We ask for our customers’ patience and understanding during this time and rest assured that we are doing everything we can, as quickly as we can, to normalise the situation.”
A special customer call centre has also been set up especially for those in the Northern division to call for enquiries and assistance at toll-free line 1508 (all mobile networks).
Having restored water supply to most metered customers, WAF is currently focussing on non-metered areas, conducting initial damage assessments (IDA) and continuing to provide water carting to affected areas.
The WAF IDA teams have been mobilised to rural areas to assess and gather information necessary for planning the Authority’s next steps in assisting affected Fijians.
WAF has provided water carting to affected areas since Sunday 20 December 2020, once the Fiji Roads Authority approved the use of all main roads in Vanua Levu, and customers are encouraged to call the Authority and place a request if they need to.
WAF advises customers to conserve and always store sufficient amounts of water to last for at least 5 to 7 days in their homes at all times. Customers are also encouraged 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.