TC Winston

Damage to water systems will hit millions

The Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) said they were well prepared before Tropical Cyclone Winston devastated areas around the country, but damages to water systems around the country will run into the millions. WAF Chief Executive Officer, Opetaia Ravai in a press conference yesterday said the investment in the $4million of Gensets generators helped to keep […]

Peni Shute

March 4, 2016 7:38 am

The Water Authority of Fiji (WAF) said they were well prepared before Tropical Cyclone Winston devastated areas around the country, but damages to water systems around the country will run into the millions.

CEO, Water Authority of Fiji, Mr Opetia Ravai. Source: Peni Shute / Newswire.
Chief Executive Officer of Water Authority of Fiji, Mr Opetaia Ravai at a press conference yesterday. Source: Peni Shute / Newswire.

WAF Chief Executive Officer, Opetaia Ravai in a press conference yesterday said the investment in the $4million of Gensets generators helped to keep water supply consistent around the country during and after TC Winston.

RAVAI: “Since the warning came when Tropical Cyclone Winston was approaching Fiji, our team and we have a team of disaster risk committee here at WAF started to mobilise and prepare for what was termed at that time a very big cyclone, we now know that it was one of the biggest to hit the southern hemisphere.”

Mr Ravai said that there are 227 pumping stations around the country and that require electricity.

RAVAI: “There was a huge damage to the electricity infrastructure and in the previous cyclones if you recall whenever there would be a cyclone people would be without water, this cyclone we were better prepared, we invested in standby generators to the tune of four million dollars.”

He said that WAF will continue with the investment of generators in key establishments so that when power outages do occur the supply of water to the people of Fiji would not be affected.

RAVAI: “You would have experienced that in most of the towns and cities we were able to do this because we had installed Gensets, had it not been for these gensets, which were very big gensets and very expensive, for example in Suva over 300 thousand people would have been without water and that the power was almost off for the week so you can imagine the inconvenience that would have caused and the amount of water carting we would have been going 24 hours 7 days a week and it would have been inconvenient to people.”

Mr. Ravai said water systems in the West from Tavua to Ba and Rakiraki were running on Gensets due to the delay in power restoration.

A Water Authority of Fiji plumber repairing a broken water pipe at Thurston Street in Suva yesterday. Source: Peni Shute / Newswire.
A Water Authority of Fiji, plumber repairing a broken water pipe along Thurston Street in Suva yesterday. Source: Peni Shute / Newswire.

Mr. Ravai said WAF has isolated the area and is service them through water carting using water trucks.

Meanwhile, six water trucks are being used by WAF to cart water to the surrounding areas of South Taveuni.

Mr. Ravai said there are about 47 water trucks carting water nationwide to supplement water coming through pipes.

RAVAI: “Each truck costs the Water Authority $1000 a day to hire and so far have supplied six and a half million liters of water.”

He added that a team would be going to Vanua Balavu to assess the area this afternoon.

RAVAI: “The areas in the Lau Group in Vanua Balavu and Lakeba have recovered from what we’ve gathered so far but nevertheless our teams are going out there this afternoon with the assistance of the Australian and New Zealand Navy to fully assess the system and start with some repairs.”

The CEO said WAF will be hiring more project workers next week to repair systems in the 233 villages in rural areas around the country that were on the path of TC Winston.

So far, 87 water systems in villages have been restored.

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