The Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) has apologised for the water disruptions in Fiji last weekend.
“Unfortunately, there were some factors beyond our control that caused the disruptions. However there are some aspects we can improve upon and I have initiated an independent investigation to this end,” said WAF CEO, Barry Omundson.
Our teams worked around the clock to normalise water supply, many gave up their weekend,” said WAF CEO, Barry Omundson.
“Fiji is not unique when it comes to water disruptions, many cities and towns in countries around the world face similar issues for similar reasons. This is because of increasing demands on ageing infrastructures as populations increase and the urban sprawl expands.”
“The Fijian people can rest assured that we are taking measures and developing strategies to minimise water disruptions.”
Mr Omundson highlighted the need for a fine balance between replacing the older infrastructure and putting new infrastructure in the ground to cater for the growth.
“The most recent water disruptions, that we are still recovering from, were a result of a combination of things. This included power outages, then our standby generator at a critical site failed – which is under investigation,” said Mr Omundson.
“Although water pumping resumed in an hour, in that time water levels in our reservoirs were depleted. The water system here in the Suva-Nausori corridor is so keenly balanced that it can be significantly affected if an asset like the generator fails.”
Another burden placed on the systems is because of unaccounted for water usage in the form of illegal connections and leaks.
“This places undue pressure on our systems to deliver water to our customers. We are doing our best to mitigate this and the Authority is working very hard to reduce this unaccounted for water and have deployed teams to undertake regular inspections of assets to ensure they are operating as they should,” said Mr Omundson.
In recognition of the Suva’s urban sprawl, and to build resilience and greater capacity in the area’s infrastructure, the Authority has invested $270 million into the Rewa River Water Supply Scheme (RRWSS). The RRWSS currently under construction is planned to be commissioned in March 2022 with a capacity to supply an additional 40 million litres a day of Water to the Greater Suva Area.
“This will expand the water supply by constructing 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 Omundson.
WAF advises customers to conserve and always store sufficient amounts of water to last for at least two to three 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.