- The Economic and Commercial Counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Fiji, Ms. Li Zhi;
- The Director of International Department, PowerChina Zhongnan Engineering Corporation Limited, Mr. Yin Pengwei;
- Representatives of various Government Ministries and Departments;
- Ladies and Gentlemen
Zaoshang hao, bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.
It is my privilege and honour to address you as we gather here this morning and embark on this two-weeks training on a bid to improve delivery of safe and quality drinking water services for all Fijians. I have been informed that this training focuses on improvements in the analysis of water sources as well as laboratory practices in Fiji.
I speak on behalf of the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and would like to convey that we do applaud trainings as such. These types of training help us to understand, expand and share knowledge on the many proper practices to be undertaken such as working in laboratories and undertaking proper monitoring for efficient and effective delivery of services.
It is great to see the Government of the People’s Republic of China working closely together with the people of Fiji to help improve in this space – Water Source Analysis and Lab Practices. The Fijian Government in its commitment to provide clean and safe drinking water has invested a lot in the water and wastewater sector. In this financial year, Government has provided a total budget of $349.3 million to the Water Authority of Fiji. This is an increase of $42.4 million from the previous financial year. A total of $102.8 million has been allocated towards operating costs while $246.5 million is targeted towards capital expenditure costs.
Allow me to explain a little more of Government’s support towards ensuring clean and safe drinking water to the people of Fiji. Government has allocated $3 million for the Water Catchment Management Programme. This involves surveys of all water catchments, water source management, hydrological & environmental monitoring to capture accurate hydrological data to identify safe water sources.
A total of $0.5 million has been allocated for catchment acquisition and boundary surveys. $1.25 million has been allocated for installation of measurement and telemetry equipment to send real-time water flows to the National Control Centre. A total of $0.75 million for water source management and identifying safe water sources by capturing accurate data through hydrological & environmental monitoring; $0.26 million for environment investigations and assessment and $0.24 million for water safety quality programme. A further $27 million has been allocated for 133 projects under the Rural Water Supply Programme throughout Fiji for this financial year. This project will benefit about 23,382 people in the rural areas.
For wastewater services, an allocation of $18.5 million has been allocated to WAF to upgrade wastewater treatment plants. We intend to increase capacity and match the works conducted on our sewer line extensions. Another $20.4M has been allocated for the upgrade and improvement of the wastewater distribution system to cover more areas.
Ladies and Gentlemen, these are just some of the allocations by Government to WAF, and this speaks volumes of the Government’s continued support towards an improved water and sanitation service delivery to all Fijians.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this training is brought to you under the framework of China’s 2018 – China Aid training program. I am told that this project is aimed to share the developing experience of China in water source analysis and laboratory practice with Fiji, as well as to explore industry engineering technologies and to improve management capacity in water resources between the two countries.
For the next two weeks, as assigned by the Ministry of Commerce of China representatives from ‘PowerChina Zhongnan Engineering Corporation Limited’ will be facilitating this training.
My fellow colleagues from Water Authority of Fiji (WAF), Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport (MoIT), Ministry of Health (MOH) as well as the Mineral Resources Department (MRD) on behalf of the Fijian Government, I would like to wish you all the very best for this training.
We hope the workshop has value in promoting better practices in your field of work and builds capacity in dealing with water source analysis and laboratory practices in Fiji and China.
Xiexie Nin, thank you and vinaka vakalevu.