Fiji: Minister to visit flood prone areas

The Minister for Agriculture and Primary Industries, Mr Joketani Cokanasiga will be taking a two-day tour to the Western Division along with senior officials of the ministry tomorrow.

The main focus of the trip will be in Nadi where Mr Cokanasiga will be inspecting the areas prone to flooding and the ongoing dredging works that are currently being undertaken at the Nadi River mouth.

Acting Director for Land and Water Resource Management Division (LWRM), Mr Lakshman Mudaliar said Mr Cokanasiga will be meeting with the Nadi Mayor Mr Timoci Koroiqica and the Nadi Chamber of Commerce President Mr Narendra Reddy to hold discussions on the problem areas of Nadi.

Mr Mudaliar said tomorrow the team will be visiting the project sites at the Nawaka Retention Dam and the proposed irrigation works at Nasau

'We will also be visiting the Drainage Schemes at Maqalevu, Navakai and Nasoso,' he added.

Currently, works at the Nadi River mouth is continuing which had begun in December of last year costing the Government $3.3 million.

Mr Mudaliar said that there are two main areas that need to be dredged to mitigate flooding of the Nadi Town.

He added that once the area is dredged, it will ease the flow of water in the Nadi River and control the flooding of its river banks.

The dredging of the Nadi River will be carried out in two phases.

The first phase is to dredge the heavily silted river mouth which involves dredging 1.2 kilometers out to the sea and 600 meters in land.

At present they have already dredged 400 meters from the river mouth and the works are continuing.

The second phase is to commence dredging from three kilometers upstream to Nadi Town. The river bed in these areas is very shallow with no gradient and is a contributing factor to the flooding of Nadi Town.

Mr Mudaliar pointed out that climate change is having greater impacts now with higher rainfall intensities and increased flooding events.

'As such there is a need to address the problem of the whole watershed in Nadi with both structural and non-structural measures,' said Mr Mudaliar.

Mr Cokanasiga and his official team will also visit Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki to survey other project sites that the Ministry is currently undertaking.