World: Waikete upgrade project to be a part of Budget 2022-23 in Usamate
World: Waikete upgrade project to be a part of Budget 2022-23 in Usamate

World: As part of the 2021/2022 budget, the Water Authority of Fiji is currently upgrading infrastructure along Naitalasese Road towards Waikete village to replace the old and undersized mains that service the area.

This will cost the Authority approximately $2M to fully complete and together with the Commissioning of the Viria Water Treatment Plant, will improve services in Waikete.

Work currently underway includes the laying of 6 km of pipelines, of which 2.5 km has been completed. This will also include the transfer of connections from mains to consumer’s water meters. The team is currently working at an accelerated pace – laying 22 lengths of pipe daily instead of the planned 15 lengths.

The project, which is expected to be commissioned in February 2023, will resolve significant intermittent supply issues for Waikete. In the meantime, WAF’s Community Engagement and Water Carting Team is working closely with PA Tailevu and Turaga-ni-koro for Waikete in coordinating water carting to the area.

Minister for Infrastructure and Meteorological Services, Jone Usamate, noted that water carting trips are scheduled once every two days and are primarily targeted to servicing the communal tank first before filling individual household tanks.

WAF continues to receive water carting requests from Waikete requesting for tank top-up while communal tanks are still full of water.

The current water carting schedule for Waikete is slated for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with a tank top-up for Sunday. Concerns have been raised that vendors and staff who facilitate this service have been subjected to verbal abuse and in some cases have been threatened by customers.

Minister for Infrastructure, Jone Usamate, highlighted that while this project is underway to massively improve services to Waikete, and water is being carted regularly, there is no need for abusive behaviour. The minister outlined, “We sent a total of 82 trips to deliver more than 460,000 litres of water to Waikete at a cost of more than $70,000. This is our commitment – to ensure that our customers in Waikete have water.”

“All materials have been procured and work is already on schedule to be completed in 10 weeks. If you have issues, contact us directly. We are more than happy to meet and resolve any issues that you might have,” he further added.