Villagers Thankful For Riverbank Protection


Villagers of Vunibau in Navua will no longer have to move to higher grounds during the constant flooding after the construction of their river bank protection works funded by the Government.

Situated 47 metres from the river bank and given its close proximity, it was highly vulnerable to flooding and the associated soil erosion for villagers was becoming an everyday threat. After years of constant plea to the relevant authorities and the Government, the Ministry of Waterways stepped in to assist the villagers.

Vunibau villager, 60-year-old Jone Waqanidrola shared his experience that in the past there were constant flooding within the village.

“During flooding, water flows into the village and slowly the riverbanks were eroding, had there been no action taken the riverbank would have shifted.” “In 2006, stone boulders and land reclamation were constructed at Vunibau Village, however, becvause of the constant wave action caused the continuous flooding of Navua River, soil erosion worsened along the riverbank.” Mr Waqanidrola adds in 2014, scoping was carried out and the river bank protection works commenced on June 28, 2018. “The works were completed on December 15, 2018 and the river bank protection works entailed combination of boulder armoring and Reno-mattress works.” “We have also witnessed changes within the village, there is good growth of vegetation growing alongside mangroves at the riverbank and villagers have started planting cassava.”

Mr Waqainidrola highlighted that the villagers have now adapted to climate change, incorporated sustainable development and more importantly focused food security. “Before we used to face a lot of challenges mostly from flooding especially when there is a lot rainfall from upstream with the bank protection.” “Today after the construction of this project we don’t have any more drainage problems and this has contributed to the improvement of food security and increasing the cropping area and stopping the intrusion of salt water. Mr Waqanidrola thanked the Government and the Ministry of Waterways for their assistance towards this project that will greatly assist the village. The riverbank protection works was undertaken by Yadra Viti Investment Ltd at a cost of $561,292.23 for the construction of the project.