31 Mar 2004

Water shortage troubles Fiji's west

10:43 am on 31 March 2004

An expert in Pacific Island development at New Zealand's Victoria University says the Fiji Government is giving hotels priority over limited water supplies, to the detriment of its people.

Vijay Naidu says the Government's policy is questionable, particularly in the western, drier side of Viti Levu.

Mr Naidu says the tourism industry on the coral coast demands a lot of water and is competing with local residents in an area where water is scarce.

He says the impact of the Government's policy has not been considered by its officials.

"It is simply assumed that there are these great benefits from tourism that accrue to us and you know it's one of the holy cows of Fiji now. I would say that in certain cases like water, they are a major competitor for limited water resources."

Mr Naidu says that while the social and cultural impact of tourism is well known, its impact on basic human needs like water has to be looked at.