Dredging On River To Commence Soon


A simple walk along the footpaths of Waicoka Village in Tailevu South will give anyone the first hand impression of the harsh reality of climate change.

Most of the houses are on piles and it seems those houses are struggling every day to keep itself steady on the swampy grounds.

The village is located on the banks of Waidamu River and for generations, that river has been a source of livelihood for more than 200 residents of the village.

However, same cannot be said about the importance of Waidamu River anymore as slightest of rain and high tides break the bank and inundates the settlement.

Turaga-ni-Koro of the village, 53-year-old Sireli Daivalu found it hard to express what his people had to go through.

“Our farms have been destroyed by water coming in from the river. Places where we used to plant vegetables before, we can no longer farm there,” Mr Daivalu said.

Looking at the urgent plight of his people, the village leader sought the Government’s assistance through the Bose ni Tikina and the Provincial Council to dredge the 18 kilometre long river.

Although it was a mammoth task, it quickly became the priority for the Ministry of Waterways and the Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources.

Waterways and Environment Minister, Dr Mahendra Reddy has assured the residents that Waidamu River will soon once again be the source of livelihood for the Waicoka Village.

“Entire 18 kilometre of the river will be dredged. We have come up with an economical solution and this river will no longer threaten you,” Minister Reddy assured the villagers.

He has also assured Fijians that no community will be ignored when it comes to finding smart solutions to address such issues.

“Dredging can be an expensive exercise. A kilometre of dredging can cost up to $2million based on the volume of extraction”

Ministry of Lands also played a crucial part in getting the necessary approvals for the works to commence.

“The Fijian Government will continue to find innovative solutions to such issues that will result in the betterment of the communities affected by the impacts of climate change,” Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources, Ashneel Sudhakar added.

The dredging works are expected to commence this month and this has brought a great sigh of relief for the turaga ni koro.

“We are really happy with this timely assistance. My people will greatly benefit from the dredging works,” Mr Daivalu said.