of discussion on freshwater supplies in small islands, Fiji
substantive responses = ??
focusing directly on Fiji's water problems
Jone Kalouniviti, Fiji
S. D. Limaye, India
Mohini Prasad, Fiji
Michael Taylor, New Zealand
of water - general
Jerry Berne, USA
O. Carlyle Bourne, Barbados
Arnaldo Coro Antich, Cuba
Portia Sweeting, The Bahamas
Carol Busby, Cayman Islands
Susan Field, British Virgin Islands
V Moelagi Jackson, Samoa
Elizabeth Khaka, Kenya
Leba Mataitini, Fulaga, Fiji
Leba Mataitini, Fulaga, Fiji (2)
Janot-Reine Mendler, USA
D. R. Perni, India
Alex Perrine, Rodrigues
K. D. Pillay, Seychelles
R. Rethinam, Indonesia
Elizabeth Taylor, San Andres Island
L. Tuitubou, Fiji
Papua New Guinea
Ben Tanaki, Niue
Jeffrey M. Parker
I. A. Economides, Cyprus
Doug Fraser, Tasmania, Australia
Peter Hehanussa, Indonesia
Theo Isamu, Palau
Mavis Koroiuli, Fiji
Mark List, USA
Carol Steinfeld, USA
Vikash Tatayah, Mauritius
Writer in Cook Islands
Clive Carpenter, UK
Peni Leavai, Samoa
Raj H Prayag, Mauritius
of water supply
J. Ewarmai, Federated States of Micronesia
Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Cyril de Silva, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Peter Hitchins Richard Murphy
focusing directly on Fiji's water problems
I would just
like to add a bit of comment to the ones made already. Water in
Fiji is not really the problem. We have more than enough water
sources from which we can procure clean and safe drinking water.
The only problem is the water distribution system that our Government
uses to cart it to the public. It's a relic of the colonial era
when the population in Suva was below 20,000. Now that its population
is nearing the 100,000 mark, the demand placed on these old pipes
and mains has worsened the problem resulting in low water pressure
and burst mains and leakage.
that has placed a huge strain on the water system is the existence
of squatter settlements which have mushroomed in recent years
as the rural to urban migration continues at an increasing pace
compared to the 1980s and 90s.
has been upgrading its water system to cater for this and it has
resulted in the construction of more reservoirs and more water
mains which can cater to the demands.
in Dokaisuva is not a unique one but rather a result of poor planning
over the years but at least things are now underway and Government
has even procured a loan from the Asian Development Bank to ease
the water shortages in the greater Suva area.
Could I just
add on to what Mr Biumaiono has already stated; I am a journalist
of the Fiji Sun Newspaper here. I just returned from a one week
excursion into the Dreketi Highlands up in Macuata, Vanua Levu
the second biggest island in Fiji.
of Nabavatu in Dreketi houses 135 nuclear families in 90 houses.
Dreketi is an area full of bore holes and water measured at PH
levels of 5 (one of the best in the country) is prevalent in the
numerous springs around Dreketi.
Like Mr Biumaiono
has stated, the problem is access to this plentiful supply.
man living in Nabavatu village is 85 years of age, yet he cannot
remember when the colonial masters built the existing water storage
tank which the villagers still use today. Yes it is quite a feat
of engineering for it still stands strong, the problem is the
piping system government has put in place little by little over
time resulting in continuous repairs which are the root of all
The same is
experienced throughout Dreketi, villagers have to practically
walk up to the bore holes to get water.
D. Limaye, India
I would like
to ask a few questions to the people of Dokaisuva, Fiji:
1. Is there
a village water committee in Dokaisuva, Fiji?
2. Are they
promoting roof water harvesting? Is there any subsidy from Government
for such collection of rainwater?
3. If storage
of roof water in drums or PVC tanks is expensive, is it possible
to recharge it to the shallow aquifer?
4. Is there
a village tank or pond? Has it been de-silted or deepened recently
to store more rain water?
I reside in
Sawani, past Dokanaisuva. I drive past this place on a daily basis
and always see residents lining up along the main road to collect
water from the tanks carted on the trucks. It is a common sight.
But what is a sore sight is that at times I have seen the truck
drivers of the trucks carting water driving the trucks in quiet
places and draining the water from the water tank on the ground.
I only wish I had a video camera on me at those times. I fail
to understand what is causing the disruption in water supply.
There had been a fair bit of noise in the not so recent past that
there are a fair few private contractors who supply trucks for
carting of water tanks. I wonder if the benefit to be gained by
these contractors is the underlying reason for disruptions in
the water service.
Taylor, New Zealand
If Fiji is
short of drinking-water, why is it exporting bottled water?
to think if it happens to all us we will all be jumping!!!...Since
they are normal people nothing could be done anyway!!!!. But if
it was a member of the Parliament or Minister in the Government
the services provided would be different...Maybe it's how the
government of the day is providing their services...Well next
year is election period, I advise all consumers not to worry because
then people will be out to buy votes. Maybe the services will
be efficient by then and if not please think again before you
cast your vote!!!!! Vote for the ordinary person who can provide
of water - general
As the problem
of rainwater collection is not limited to small islands should
you not also contact people/organizations active in arid and semi-arid
regions? For example in some such regions houses are built on
water tanks and the rainwater, especially from the roof, is channelled
directly into the tanks.
As to the
reverse osmosis some countries with coastal regions, little freshwater
and plenty of solar energy use solar panels to generate the energy,
others use wind turbines. Some work has also been done on using
solar energy to evaporate the water and then condense the water
vapour. Quite a lot of work has been done, especially in the Andes,
on the use of different materials to collect fog - could be tried
on sea fogs!
out there been using mixes of fresh and seawater - what about
may be becoming true for many small islands. Yet the most mentioned
cause, drought, is not the only culprit.
mention of saline intrusion into water systems is a clue to one
of the most overlooked manmade impacts helping to create this
crisis. Many islands are now dredging deep and long navigational
channels for cruise ships and are armouring or employing beach
nourishment in counterproductive attempts to save tourist beaches.
The navigational dredging pushes salt water deeply inland and
contributes to increasing the volume of fresh water moved rapidly
out of inland water systems. Traditionally engineered erosion
"protection" structures and beach nourishment are both shown to
increase erosion and harm coastal environmental systems. This
increased erosion allows salt water intrusion into surficial coastal
While it is
critical that practical natural water storage facilities are employed,
we are far to cavalier about the far reaching environmental impacts
of manipulating the geography of the nearshore by dredging. The
data continues to demonstrate the ill effects of such processes.
The failure to adopt more sustainable and environmentally sound
technologies to mitigate these negative effects is leading to
the potential collapse of our coastal systems.
Carlyle Bourne, Barbados
I suggest that you try the website: www.ircsa.org
Coro Antich, Cuba
of Cuba is the main one of the Cuban archipelago. There is another
"big-small island", the Isle of Youth that is about one tenth
of the area of Cuba or so. During the past five years the eastern
part of the island of Cuba has gone through a severe drought that
has caused great problems to the people living there, as the water
reservoirs have gone dry in many places, and the underground water
resources have dried up or "salted" due to proximity to the coast.
The Cuban National Institute of Water Resources "Instituto Nacional
de Recursos Hidraulicos" is the Cuban government agency in charge
of the water supply and conservation and it is now involved in
a very comprehensive effort to help those people in need of water
due to the drought, using many different approaches... For example
the city of Holguin, with about three hundred thousand population,
is now receiving a "water supply train of tank cars" from a remote
water source... and the city of Las Tunas is now getting water
through a new pipeline of more than 50 km length, a very expensive
solution for the Cuban economy.
One of the
aspects that I believe is very important is the media campaign
about water conservation, that is using all resources including
radio, TV, the print mass media and the distribution of leaflets
and pamphlets to encourage water conservation and rational use.
is so bad that plans are in the works to use, once again, an aircraft
overflying the cumulus clouds to seed them with sodium iodide
crystals or frozen CO2 in order to enhance the cloud's probabilities
of becoming a "rain cloud" over the island. Last but not least,
a national program for the reforestation of the eight most important
river basins is now in progress, with the hope that when those
trees planted grow up, they will help to bring in more clouds
and consequently more water.
Sweeting, The Bahamas
I teach and
live on New Providence (Nassau). Most of the water used on Nassau
is barged from another island in our chain. Recently, bad weather
coupled with mechanical difficulties have, on numerous occasions,
prevented water from being barged to our island. During the day,
as a conservation measure, the water company would cut the water
supply. Now that's normally not so bad for homes, but schools,
etc that depend solely on that supply usually have a hard time
have designed, produced and distributed a brochure on the conservation
of water. The water company has attained our permission to mass
produce our brochure for their customers. The government is also
proposing a reverse osmosis water system for our island.
Arnold, New Zealand
a suggestion. Perhaps you could make contact with Bermuda. It
is a small island in the Atlantic and copes well under the circumstances
with regards to collecting rain water. The house roofs are kept
spotless as this is the collection point for all their rain water.
I do not have a comparison of the amount of rain they may receive
in a years as compared to Fiji.
Busby, Cayman Islands
I live on
Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands. We rely mostly on a reverse
osmosis plant. That was not true until 1989 when it went in. Before
that everyone had cisterns or natural wells. In our case our island
is honeycombed with natural wells being made of limestone and
caymonite (semi-precious stone). It is only 2 miles wide at its
widest point and 12 miles long with a gradual bluff rising to
145 feet above sea level. My neighbour's hand dug well back in
the 1920s, or maybe before, is deep, approx 100 feet and over
2,000 feet from the sea shore. When you stick your head down in
it you can hear the sea and you know it's coming in and the water
is good. No smell, no taste, it is filtered seawater mixed with
rain water. We also have on parts of the island brackish water,
which is more salt, smells of iron and sulphur.
I am living
on cistern water which includes what the heavens will give me
and for the last year I have brought from our water plant 2,500
gallons every five weeks since September 2004 at a cost of Cayman
Islands $70 equal to US$87.50. We have not had any sizeable rain
since then. A serious drought and I have lived on Cayman Brac
for 14 years.
Field, British Virgin Islands
Hello, I am
a writer, living in The British Virgin Islands and occasionally,
Cambridge, Massachusetts. Recently, during a series of downpours,
my friend mentioned to me that she had simply 'caught the rain
water' to use during that storm and if the power went out. A simple
idea that every single family could implement by having a 'water
bucket', leaving it outside, all the time in a good catching place.
Then, when it rains, it is automatically filled and brought into
the home for at least small chores. There could be special rain
buckets, all the same colour and size, one per family, as a start-up
project! I vote for blue buckets, distributed by governments and
then, voila, more water all around.
Moelagi Jackson, Samoa
Savaii Society a conservation society working on the outer island
of Savaii. With the cost of electricity and water rates going
up in Samoa we are teaching villages and families to make sure
to harvest rain water so that they do not have to pay unaffordable
water rates when there is water around them We also help villages
to write up proposals to the European Union to supply us with
water tanks so that we could harvest rainwater. So I think to
meet the Millennium Development Goals 2015 we should identify
every mean to save and manage resources. In our SWA recent Plan
review I strongly pushed the plan to include harvesting of rainwater.
The trouble with many present plans is the balancing or books
cash wise instead of survival wise.
I forgot to
add that the supply of water tanks in Samoa is by the European
I read with
interest the articles on the use of rainwater harvesting in small
islands. All the articles agree that rainwater can contribute
to reducing the water shortage, The question we should be asking
ourselves is "Why is rainwater harvesting not used widely?' One
of the major reasons is that it is not mainstreamed into water
policies and strategy hence limited resources are allocated for
its use. The technology does not receive adequate support, for
instance many water institutions have departments dedicated to
surface and groundwater and none for rainwater. Until rainwater
is given the same profile as surface and groundwater, the technology
will be not be given priority. It is important that policies include
rainwater harvesting so that it is considered an option in water
supplies as is the case for surface and groundwater.
rainwater harvesting the United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP) has facilitated the formation of a sustainable development
partnership, The Rainwater Partnership in October 2005. It has
over 59 members from all over the world. Membership is free to
interested parties and forms can be accessed at www.rainwaterpartnership.org.
The Partnership provides a platform for exchange of information
between members, advocates for mainstreaming rainwater harvesting
at international and national fora, and will be conducting its
first e workshop.
Mataitini, Fulaga, Fiji
need air (oxygen) to breathe, water to drink and food to eat to
survive. With hold these from them, then they start to feel various
stages of discomfort and inconvenience.
It is only
when the supply of these necessities is cut-off then one can really
appreciate the value of conserving them.
I come from
a very small island, Fulaga, on the bottom of the map of the Fiji
Islands. There are no rivers and the only source of drinking water
is the rain collected in water tanks. This also provides water
for cooking, washing, bathing in buckets. I grew up with water
being a very precious commodity that has to be conserved.
I left the
island and come into Suva where there are running taps for all
uses including hose pipes to water the garden and wash the car,
scrub the driveway and house walls, luxury! With so much movement
into and population growth in urban and peri-urban areas in Suva
and other towns in Fiji, water has indeed become a very precious
commodity that needs to be conserved.
be taught from home, school and beyond that water is precious
and musty be used wisely.
should be assisted to own a water tank as a very basic necessity
to store drinking water from free rain from heaven.
My very own
view on this very important topic.
Fiji has a
relatively high yearly rainfall and an easy way forward to ensure
that the 900,000 people that live in Fiji have access to this
basic need is through providing 3x10,000-litre water tank for
each family in Fiji through an International Waters programme.
This will ensure the high rainfall is captured for basic needs
of drinking, cooking, washing and bathing. It is not the amount
of water available that is the main problem but the management
of the available captured water. In comparison to areas like South
Australia with very low annual rainfall, Fiji should not have
any water problems.
issue is that the vast seawater areas surrounding the islands
can be converted to freshwater through desalination processes.
However, I have been made aware that this process is presently
very expensive and the by-products of brine can be a disposal
problem. More research and development work in this area may bring
the cost of the process down in time.
For the last
35 years my family have been summer residents of a small granite
island in the Gulf of Maine, where we have had to contend with
more people & rising water demand, limited and shrinking aquifer
reserves, increased water prices and higher regulatory standards
for wastewater. An incorporated association of homeowners manages
water supply and sanitation on a semi-collective basis for most
of the 30 or so cottages. When I was a child, the high cost of
limited pumped water from island wells meant that with 5 children,
our family got used to using a coin-operated shower and laundry
facility on the mainland, and our toilets flushed with salt water
- straight into the sea. With the enactment of increasingly stringent
coastal water quality legislation, a summer resident inventor
devised a two-tank oxygenation system that was approved by the
state of Maine for experimental use and adopted by all the houses
on the island, but proved to be insufficient to meet current effluent
standards. The island homeowners' association undertook studies
to evaluate the fiscal and environmental viability of alternative
solutions. A collective contract was negotiated with SeptiTech
(www.septitech.com) to install a new residential technology using
a biological recirculating trickle filter system to treat wastewater.
An electronic controller is programmed to optimize removal of
pollutants to exceed US NSF Class 1 (EPA secondary treatment standards);
this system is now approved in 7 US states. However, this new
technology posed one problem: it is not effective for saltwater
effluent. Converting all the island toilets from seawater to freshwater
would overtax the already vulnerable recharge of island wells....the
association of homeowners decided to install a reverse osmosis
system to supplement water pumped from the aquifer and ensure
adequate freshwater to meet the increase in household use. Investment
costs of treatment systems were carried by individual homeowners,
and the additional cost of reverse osmosis installation and maintenance
distributed across all island users, in part with a rise in the
price of piped water. For a number of families like ours - now
enlarged with my generation's children - the combination of increased
freshwater demand at higher cost has triggered exploration of
yet another means to meet water demand affordably. A local plumber
designed and installed a rainwater collection system, which combined
with a simple Brita tap-filter for potable water, is now providing
an ample and sustainable source of fresh water. Water supply is
secured for all residents for the foreseeable future - at a price,
so if it doesn't rain, we can pay for piped water.
you for this article. I've been to Fiji only once, but it seemed
like a prime place for rain water collection systems. I would
wonder why people are waiting for the water truck. I would be
very surprised if they couldn't build village level systems with
rain captured off their roofs that could easily augment what the
government feels like providing.
R. Perni, India
to know about different views expressed on issues related to water.
Ours is the largest democracy in the world with extreme disparities
in the distribution of rainfall. The western part of India experiences
minimal rainfall, whereas the north-eastern region records maximum
rainfall. To our astonishment both regions suffer from drinking
water shortages during the summer season with varying severities.
harvesting practice in this large country bounded by Bay of Bengal
on the east, Arabian Sea on the west and Indian Ocean in the south,
is an age old practice to fill the mouths of people going back
decades. With the exploding population resulting in growing demand
for water, instead of increased rain water harvesting practices
it is almost becoming a rare practice now.
management is adapted on a holistic way with the four waters concept
it will mitigate the grievances in terms of drinking and irrigation
needs as well. I concur with the views expressed by water scientists
and will be ready to join hands with like-minded people in the
organization of international conferences on comprehensive water
resources monitoring and management. I am indeed happy to share
my views in detail if anybody is interested.
One of our
main problems in small Island states is the shortage of natural
resources and one the most needed resources is water. Water is
getting rarer and rarer thus causing an increase in poverty while
production is reducing.
In the island
of Rodrigues, I as social worker have participated in a rain water
harvesting project which enables each household to have a water
tank and other accessories to collect water. This project was
being implemented through a community participation approach.
So as to be able to reduce water problems in small island states,
there should be full participation of the community in identifying
the problem and the solutions.
rain is very rare in our zone, maximum use of reliable methods
should be used to reduce the problem. Rain water harvesting from
the roof of each household family is one of the reliable methods.
with thanks receipt of your email dated 5 April 2005 concerning
the above, the contents of which have been noted.
Our view about
water supply in the small islands states is that the small islands
states must be introduced to rain water harvest. We are facing
water cuts now and then even if the government has established
desalination equipment. The rain water harvest programme must
be subsidised by the United Nations to the small island states
because of the economic crisis the small island states are unable
to invest in the programme. We fully agree that we adopted water
conservation measures before to face water scarcity.
you also to organise a conference to discuss the problems and
solutions like water scarcity. To organise a conference in Seychelles
we are ready to help in one way or another.
will be highly appreciated.
I am happy
to see the mail which elaborates the water problem in Fiji and
ways and means to collect and store water.
Water is an
important issue, which is causing great concern, not only in small
Islands but in all parts of the world, not only in cities but
also in villages, not only for agriculture but also for drinking
and daily use.
great urgency to conserve the water whenever and wherever possible.
Water harvesting devices/techniques have to be adopted to store
the available rainwater. This harvested water can be stored in
small cement tanks or tubes or drums. Whether it is terraced house
or tiled house or thatched house rainwater can be harvested by
suitably placing some polythene sheets and pipes.
lands with hillocks also water harvesting can be done using the
various methods available. Water harvesting tanks can be made
at definite intervals to interrupt the running water and allowing
percolation to recharge ground water. Normally the rainwater is
mostly wasted and flows into the seas through rivers. Systematic
efforts should be made to harvest every drop of water.
I got your
news on my mail and it's been very sad to hear that in Fiji there
is the water shortage and people are getting used to it.
Well, my suggestion
to it is that I can advise the Fiji people to economize water
by putting a water tank on their house. So that whenever there
is a water cut, they can use the water in the tank. And in the
same way, they don't have to phone the Public Works Department
as it's time consuming.
This is my
idea, and I hope you agree. Because here in Mauritius, on every
person's house there is a water tank to preserve water whenever
there is a water cut in our region here.
Taylor, San Andres Island, Colombia
Island is part of UNESCO's Seaflower Biosphere Reserve in the
Caribbean. Despite an annual average rainfall of 1800 mm the San
Andres islanders suffer from severe water shortages. Traditionally
rainwater was the main source of potable water, but over the years
"modernization" has meant that traditional water supply methods
were pushed to one side in favour of groundwater. The regional
environmental management agency, CORALINA, monitors groundwater
quality and levels of use and has found that 70% of groundwater
is polluted. Saline intrusion from over-extraction and rising
sea-levels pose a serious threat that needs further study.
of rainwater collection on the island is well below its potential.
CORALINA is starting a pilot project with village households to
improve rain water harvesting and maximize benefits from rainwater.
Clusters of homes will share rainwater collection &distribution
systems. It is hoped that low-cost, appropriate technology rain
water harvesting can be used across San Andres to provide more
and cleaner water. This pilot project is a participatory programme
that integrates traditional knowledge with new technology to achieve
sustainable development through local action. For more information
contact Elizabeth Taylor, CORALINA executive director, at email@example.com
you quote re-affirms yet again the hardships some of our communities
here in Fiji are facing in relation to water alone, not to mention
the hardship they face daily in other areas of their lives.
I am thankful
that most of the people mentioned in the article have used their
own initiative to find ways to collect and keep enough water for
them and their families instead of waiting around for assistance
from the Fiji Government. They are to be commended for that, and
also for practising water conservation themselves, and for the
way they are teaching their children to do the same.
would like to bring to your notice the hardship that village people
in the outer islands in Fiji have been facing with regards to
water shortage, for years and years, and how they have been practicing
basic water conservation all these years. Outer small island people
do not have water cuts, because they do not have piped water supply.
of an outer island, is my village, which is in the Lau Group.
Ever since I can remember, I have never at any one time seen or
known my village to have lots of water. We mostly bathe in the
sea, and wash our clothes in semi-salty water, because we have
to keep our rain water for drinking. We do not have the luxury
of knowing that the Government Public Works Department trucks
(even late sometimes) will bring us more water.
We have a
large village water tank from which we get our twice-weekly supply
of water, but these are always rationed, each household is only
allowed a certain number of buckets of water, depending on the
water level in the tank.
When it doesn't
rain for months, the water level in the village tank gets really
low. Even though some houses have their own small tanks to supplement
their supply of water, there's always the danger of the village
running out of water altogether. When that happens, our men would
walk long distances in the forests to get water from the few ponds
that exist in the island. The water they collect, though not very
clean nor hygienic, is shared among the households, for drinking
purpose only. Our only other source of drink is green coconut
juice and ripe pawpaw.
I guess what
I am trying to say here, is that we from the outer islands in
Fiji would be really grateful if your organization could assist
us by identifying, introducing and financing better water conservation
systems into our villages.
My heart goes
out to the people facing water cuts frequently. But, if you live
where we live, water supply becomes more of a problem to you than
water cuts. In here we depend only on rain water. So each family
builds their own water tank, even large ones and whenever it rains,
water is collected into them for all purposes. If any of the residents
had built their own tanks and collected water from their roofs
whenever it rains, frequent water cuts would never be a problem.
Here, when there is no rain for at least a week, you could call
it a drought. So let's say that we all have problems. Find solutions
to your problems and solve them. Build a water tank. It is not
Digim'rina, Papua New Guinea
your inspiring contributions. I've been harbouring and somewhat
timidly knocking on the doors of relevant government departments,
line agencies and donors for support for a proposed water supply
project for some 10 villages (c. 10,000 people) in my home island,
Trobriands, Papua New Guinea. It is a small coral atoll like your
Over the years,
steel water pumps have been introduced, lasted for about 5 years
and then break down, subsequently forcing the women/girls back
to the traditional way of water carting from the wells. Sometimes,
the longest distance would be about 1km. There are others however,
that could access albeit, brackish water from the knee-high water
wells around their villages. Due to the above problems, I have
been putting together a proposal/concept paper in making good
clean water more accessible and at a sustainable level for my
people. Because the island is big enough to have a reliable water
table that is fresh enough and big enough for some 30-100,000
people? (current resident figure is 28,000), fresh water can be
accessed from almost anywhere on the island. This has been confirmed
by the technical experts in setting up the steel water pumps drilled
into the ground. In fact new hamlets are now into manually digging
water wells up 5-15m deep (50-100cm in diameter) for their own
use. Other villagers also flock in to help themselves at the kindness
of the owners. My proposal basically calls for donor support (to
finance expertise and initial capital cost), to dig up bore holes
with the villages (3-5 per 1000 persons), attach ropes to pulleys
to bring water to the surface, build roofing over the mouth of
the bore hole for further protection, put up a 1.5m concrete wall
along the rim of the well (prevent pigs, dogs and children), align
the inner walls of the well with concrete/bamboo planks, and ensure
that the depth of the water well is over 3m. This will ensure
that the fetching bucket creates minimum disturbance on the silt
sitting at the floor of the water well, thereby ensuring clean
This to me
is a more sustainable venture compared to steel water pumps for
islanders that have such a poor cash economy which is unable to
sustain the running costs of machines, etc. A bore water well
will last through generations, just as is known in other parts
of the world - there are enough examples shown in the bible. Very
roughly, this is how my proposal conceptualises the water supply
project for a small coral atoll island like mine.
Could I please
have some comments on the idea? I have yet to fully articulate
it to the potential donors although, my village elders and respective
group leaders are pretty much aware of my idea. An Australian
firm is pretty keen, so far, in testing out my idea. Any help?
Hi! I am sorry
but at the same time inspired to read of such experiences and
feel for the community's concern.
that we in Niue are one of the most fortunate people to have regular
supply of water. Every house hold has its own water tap at its
house. No one walks or go anywhere beyond its house premises for
water. The service is all funded by the way.
I guess we
can enjoy what water services we have now because of the 'one
unit island' like the size of Ovalau I think, and the declined
We don't have
that much water cuts unless it's a natural disaster like the time
of the Heta Cyclone; and a problem of the electric water pumps
which pump the water from the underground. It is strain on Government
financial resources and only time can tell Government's ability
to sustain our water services. I think our Government will be
forced in the very near future to charge for water....
supply is pumped from underground. Each of the13 villages has
a water reservoir (tank) from which water is then piped to every
But even if
we do have water cuts, still lots of houses have those water catchment
tanks feeding off roof tops.
But our water
system is considered a high risk too. As long as the underground
water is not contaminated, then we are alright. Otherwise if it
becomes contaminated, then the whole island is in trouble. The
cost of alternatives means for us would be beyond our financial
ability, even beyond donor tolerance. This is the kind of scenario
that frightens us a lot. And this has caused us to be more active
and watch out and work responsibly to ensure and take serious
precautions with the toxic materials we have and use. This is
inevitably hard to achieve given the pressure of economic development
in this small island state of ours. But I am reasonably comfortable
to see and know our Government's Organic Farming concept that
is in place...'by 2010, Niue will be a Toxicant Free Island',
which means there will be no more toxic fertilizers or toxic weed
killers by 2010, only composted organic materials. But that is
the idea which works only if our people are serious and true about
it. It's true that we tend to respond to conservation strategies
only when we actually have a scarcity problem persistently in
am inspired by the lessons of the article and I don't think I
will complain that much next time we have water cuts here in Niue.
I think, I will be proactive about it.
for the opportunity to share some of my thoughts as an individual
from a small island of Niue. I believe the nature of social, cultural,
economical and political problems and opportunities in our individual
small island states are the same except different magnitudes.