Ni sa Tiko sobu na Vanua, Naloto vua na Gone Turaga na
The Minister for Infrastructure, Hon Jone Usamate;
His Excellency the French Ambassador;
His Excellency the European Union Ambassador;
Water Authority of Fiji CEO, Mr Barry Omundson;
Board of Directors and Representatives from the Water Authority
To all the Contractors that Built this Plant;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Bula Vinaka and a very good morning to you all.
Today we celebrate a new and no less important achievement: The Namau Water Project.
Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of water have already flowed through this treatment facility since its operations began. Regardless, I’m grateful your community has insisted on having me here today to mark this milestone in expanding access to clean water for our people.
Of all the building blocks of human well-being, water is unquestionably the most essential. In recognition of its vital importance, the right to clean water is enshrined in our Fijian Constitution – a mandate, among many, which my Government strives to meet every single day.
When a family lacks a reliable water supply, their first, second and third priorities immediately centre around making sure they have clean water they can use to drink and keep clean.
Often-times, the burden of the all-consuming exercise of trudging water from source-to-home is borne by women and girls; an unreasonable demand of their valuable time.
We’re lifting that burden, pipeline by pipeline and project by project, all across Fiji. By 2030 we expect every Fijian to have reliable access to safe, drinking water, much like what the Namau Water Project now supplies to Korovou Town, five of its surrounding villages, three (3) schools and three (3) farming communities.
Prior to the completion of this over 20-million-dollar might of modern engineering – including the five-mega litre reservoir, 21 kilometres of new pipelines and accompanying electrical infrastructure – Korovou Town suffered an irregular supply of only partially clean water from three (3) minor treatment plants. Surrounding communities often relied on water carting. In fact, this new plant is saving Fiji $50,000 annually in water carting costs alone.
Since this new project began serving your communities, your water is cleaner, it’s supplied more regularly and the pressure in your taps has seen a marked boost. And thanks to our foresight, beyond the 3,800 Fijians whose lives it has already changed for the better, we have already identified 12 new villages, six (6)settlements, seven (7) schools and two (2) more farming communities in Vulagi and Waidalice that can access treated water from here in Namau. Once we lay those piping extensions, those communities will also see a greater realisation of their constitutional right to a clean water supply.
Whether it’s lighting your homes and schools or reliably supplying you with clean water, my Government is committed to providing Namau, and every community, everywhere in Fiji, with a solid foundation of essential services upon which you – and your young people – can build.
I look forward to see what Namau makes of the investments we’ve made in your future.
Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you.