Community members of Korobebe in Fiji’s Western Division can now access clean and safe drinking water within the comfort of their own homes following the launch of their Rainwater Harvesting Project.
Water security was an issue that was identified as a problem faced by 52 families during the community development planning process conducted by the Office of the Western Commissioner and key stakeholders.
To ensure the sustainability of the project, a rainwater harvesting committee which includes representatives from the women and youth groups will be responsible for the general up keep of the rainwater harvesting system.
The lack of ground water sources and boreholes in the Western Division has led to increasing costs for cartage of water.
“In September 2015, the Water Authority of Fiji spent $302,148.42 carting 4.9 million litres of emergency water supply to various parts of the Western Division,” said Pacific Risk Resilience Programme (PRRP) Regional Manager for Live Learn Environmental Education (LLEE), Doris Susau.
“The risk integrated Community Development Plans (CDPs) maps out and identifies priority projects that needs to be undertaken to promote healthy and resilient livelihood within piloted communities,” said Ms. Susau.
Located at an elevated level and with prolonged dry spells, the water source is affected and of great concern to the community. For the people of Korobebe, water cartage was a temporary solution.
“Previously, our water source would begin to dry out only during extended dry periods (after five months). These days, the water source is drying out within a space of two months,” said Korobebe Village Headman or Turaga ni Koro, Sailosi Saukuru.
“We usually get our water supply from a nearby borehole. This process would involve our women and youth walking quite a distance to fetch water for cleaning, washing, cooking and drinking.”
“The intention of the Korobebe rain water harvesting project is to harvest the rainwater from the roof catchment of the village church and stored for use by the community as a supplementary source of water in times of prolonged dry spells,” said Mr Saukuru.
Speaking to community members during the launch of the project, Commissioner Western, Manasa Tagicakibau echoed the appreciation of the communities to development partners for assisting in the planning and the subsequent launch of the water harvesting project.
“Access to clean and safe drinking water is a problem faced by most residents in the Western Division, particularly for those living in the outskirts of the urban area.
“We are very grateful to UNDP through its Pacific Risk Resilience Programme and its implementing partner, Live and Learn Environmental Education (LLEE) for assisting the Office of the Commissioner Western Division in this endeavor”, said Mr. Tagicakibau.
The next step for the water committee is to install water pipes from the previous water source to the water tanks which can be stored and used as an alternate water source during extended dry spells.
The wet season for the Fiji group is from November to April when most of the group experiences heavy, brief local showers that contributes to most of Fiji’s annual rainfall.
PRRP works with Pacific Island nations and their people to mainstream risks they face from climate change and disasters into development at all levels. Risk governance means tackling risk management issues but from within governance mechanisms. Improved risk governance will enable communities to benefit from development, whilst at the same time minimise negative consequences from climate change impacts and disasters.
This risk governance approach is delivered through a partnership between the UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji and international non-government organization – LLEE and supported by the Australian Government. PRRP is being delivered in four countries: Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.