The Department of Waterways has committed $3 million for the dredging of the Ba River mouth channel, the Labasa River mouth channel and will conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment of the Nadi River Diversion near Yavusania Village, Ba.
The Department has allocated $200,000 for the National Waterways Programme which involves survey and flood mapping exercise of five major river systems, including Rewa, Ba, Sigatoka, Nadi and Navua rivers, the Minister for Agriculture and Waterways, Vatimi Rayalu said in Parliament last week.
He said the Department has also committed $3.8 million for contractors to carry out riverbank protection of the followings villages – Matainoco Village, Bua Lomainikoro Village, Matanisivaro Settlement, Wainimakutu Village, Waciwaci Village, the upper Sigatoka River and Naivilaca Village in Rewa.
“The Department is currently in the process of formulating a MOA between stakeholders to be tabled to Cabinet for approval, and the stakeholders include the Department of Environment, Ministry of Lands, Ministry of i-Taukei and i-Taukei Lands Trust Board ‘Public Private Partnership – Emergency Desilting of rivers and creeks.”
“This programme will look after the desilting and dredging works of more than 130 identified rivers and creeks around Fiji. Government will facilitate all necessary approvals and permits on behalf of the private contractors who will be carrying out the flood mitigation work on the ground. To recover cost, contractors will sell the dredge spoils to construction companies and authorities,” he added.
Raiyalu said the department intends to re-establish the Drainage Board to enable this, Parliament must review the current Drainage Act 1961.
He added that the Act had been enacted in 1961 which is quite archaic and does not meet Fiji’s needs for the development of the agriculture sector.
“The Act provides for the declaration of drainage areas, authorise the execution of drainage works and provides for the establishment of drainage boards for the maintenance and improvement of certain drainage areas – However, due to certain amendments, some of those powers have changed,”.