You are on page 1of 2

When Global Vision International and Vinaka Fiji began water security improve-

ment operations in June 2011, the primary goal was to increase the availability of
fresh drinking water in the communities of the Northern Yasawa Group. After a
year of construction, secondary site assessments have now been completed in all
the villages that were recipients of this initiative.
The Yasawa Islands have struggled with water problems for years and now with
longer dry seasons, due to climate change, and less reliable rainfall during the
wet season, access to fresh water is far from reliable. While most of the villages
have boreholes or wells, these are not sources of clean drinking water and often
become dangerously low during the dry season. The most simple and effective
way to improve the overall accessibility to fresh water is through rainwater har-
vesting (RWH). Over the past year GVI/YTF has installed more than 20 rainwater
harvesting tanks in 9 villages in the Central Yasawa Group. The RWH infrastruc-
ture has added over 180,000 litres in new filtered drinking water systems to these
9 communities. When combining the added capacity made available through new
systems with efficiency improvements to existing systems, the team has esti-
mated that as much as 350,000 litres of capacity have been added by this water
security program
From August to September, GVI carried out secondary site assessments to reas-
sess the water security in the 9 villages a year on from the project's inception. n
each community GVI checked the status of all new and improved infrastructure,
created maps that detailed the location of any fresh water supply (including GPS
position), and interviewed members of the community. GVI volunteers docu-
mented the condition of each RWH system, the materials that had been used dur-
ing installation and identified any outstanding materials required. Community
members were asked about water security issues in their village and if the GVI/
YTF systems had been a positive and sustainable solution to the drinking water
The site assessments took place from late August to early September, which is
towards the end of the dry season. This meant that it was the optimal time of year
to survey the impact of the RWH systems. An assessment methodology for the
water audit tasked was developed by the team designed to ensure that all rele-
vant information village water security was taken into account during the surveys.
GVI staff and volunteers spoke with the headmen in each village, as well as with
numerous other members of the communities. In each village, people expressed
their appreciation for GV/YTF's commitment to increasing their access to safe,
filtered drinking water. "Since people in the village have been drinking filtered wa-
ter from the GV/YTF tanks they have stopped getting sick as often, said the vil-
lage spokesperson of Nabukeru village. Many of the villagers that were inter-
viewed also stressed that they had begun rationing water as numerous tanks in
their villages were now empty, but without the GVI/YTF tanks they would have
had to start rationing water much earlier in the dry season. Luckily, with recent
rainfall the RWH tanks have been refilled and villages are no longer rationing their
Yasawa I sl ands, Fi j i
Annual Water Security Audit
drinking water.

In addition to collecting information on RWH systems, GVI/YTF also asked community members about their
agricultural practices, in a effort to further interlink the water and food security objectives of the program. Most
villages only cultivate root crops, which do not contain sufficient nutrients to sustain a healthy diet. Eight com-
munities have asked GVI to assist with the development of youth managed community vegetable gardens.
These gardens will grow a diverse range of vegetables to help improve the diet of village members and any
surplus can then be sold to local resorts as an alternative source of income. With the work on the RWH sys-
tems almost complete, the community gardens are an exciting new opportunity for GVI/YTF to continue to
expand the scope and impact of the work with communities in the Central Yasawa Group.
Re-visiting the villages towards the end of their first dry season since our project began has reminded us how
crucial these improvements have been.
With the new RWH installations drinking
water supplies can now be sustained for
much longer without rationing during the
dry season, the quality of drinking water
has been enhanced by filter systems and
the efficiency of the collection and storage
of the existing systems has been improved
so that less water is wasted. The informa-
tion gathered from the water audits carried
out in each village can now be compiled
into a comprehensive report on the avail-
ability of fresh water for the entire Takina.
This report is likely to be one of the most
comprehensive technical overviews of wa-
ter security in this region currently avail-
able. After investing over six weeks in the
audit process and a significant amount of
funding in fuel and resources, the GVI
team involved in the audit process are extremely proud of the depth of
information and detail the team can now analyze and make available to
relevant stake holders.
For more information on the
progress of the Water and
Food Security program in the
Northern yasawas please
check out our blog:
The Audit Team use GPS, Gar-
min MapSource, and Google
Maps, to plot and keep track of
system status and locations