3 May 2006

Fiji's water woes heightened by hot dry weather

4:47 pm on 3 May 2006

Residents of the Fiji capital, Suva, have become the latest of tens of thousands of people around the country who are finding their water taps have run dry.

People living in the heavily populated Suva - Nausori corridor as well as those in Lautoka and Rakiraki have been facing this problem for years.

A spokesman for the Suva Water Supply Section of the Public Works Department, David Grinder, says between ten and twenty thousand people are affected for part of each day by chronic water problems.

He says it's primarily the result of three months of warm dry weather in which demand has outstripped supply.

Mr Grinder says a major capital works programme is currently underway.

"This is the first stage of a 20 year master plan. It will address most of the current shortcomings, provide for some expansion in thefuture and the next stage will take the ability to cope even further."

Meanwhile, the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has apologized to the nation on radio and TV for the continuous water cuts around the country in the last five years, adding that his government will solve the problem by the end of next year.