An Overview Of Our Solution
- Population Impacted
- Continent: Oceania
868,406 (2011 figures)
Local resources the community depends on, and for what purpose
Local threats to resources
Level of sensitivity
Level of adaptive capacity
Clean water means good and improved sanitation standard for the general well-being of any community. Based on 2006 figures, 47% of Fiji's population have drinking water from improved sources like piped water, borehole, protected spring, dug-wells and rainwater tanks. Rural communities accessing clean water is less than 15% of the ratio that access improved sources of water. Sanitation standard for rural population is about 50% of the recorded 71% of Fiji's population that had sanitation access and during outbreaks soon after a flooding, drought, cyclone event public health reports on water-borne diseases occur where there is known history of low access to clean water thus sanitation standards are impacted. Ensuring that assistance is provided to rural communities for access to safer and sustainable water source is essential and the Rotary Pacific Water for Life Foundation have assisted over 210 communities/rural schools since its establishment in 2007.
Economic Indicators used to measure benefit
An average person in Fiji is estimated to use 100L of water per day. Imagine that with limited access to clean and safer water by an average rural household, use of water per rural household becomes way below average of a single person living in a peri-urban/urban area.
What were/are the challenges your community faced in implementing this solution?
Water engineering technology approaches that is locally relevant and available. The technical advisory committee of the RPW Foundation assists the field implementing team on such design. Risks include costs of the materials for the design and potential for water-filtration systems for example, an occurrence of an extreme weather event deemed impossible to correct design accordingly. Typically, a community's recognition of its need to access safe supply of water is first step in managing the piping/storage water from source thus, reduces the risk of neglecting a water source.
Describe the community-based process used to develop the solution including tools and processes used
Rotary Pacific Water for Life Foundation (RPW) is a public-private corporate initiative that envision supplying safe drinking water to rural communities of Fiji will improve living standard and well-being of needy communities. Requests for assistance by mainly settlements, rural schools in remote regions of Fiji are considered when technical water engineering input have been provided to project design once RPW field team have scoped the community site. A Technical Advisory Committee (4-5) made up by civil engineers, architects, hydro-geologists volunteer their time every two months for two hours after work to review project design information gathered by the RPW field team. Many of the water-focused activities supported by RPW involve drilling and/upgrade of water-boles, catchment/dam systems usually built by the community itself to access any raw water source from a spring, stream, creek, river or well. The community groups contribute in terms of labor to assist in the set-up of water systems and the establishment of its own committee to consider the water source management plan that will include maintenance and sustainability for the protection of water source. Typically, projects can take up to two months to a year to conclude with the assistance of RPW in ensuring the plumbers assisted by the community for example, gets the piping system into the needed households/ storage tank(s) to avoid water leakage from source to sink. RPW works together with Fiji's Department of Water and Sewerage, Ministry of Health-Public, Environment health section due to ensuring that water-based initiatives are in synergy with national priorities towards achieving our Millennium Development Goal 2015 Targets on water and sanitation standards.
Climate hazard of concern
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the ecosystem affected?
Storage and protection of any water source is key to avoiding the unmanageable by these rural remote communities who depend on the land for its sustenance and income for an improved standard of living. Upgrade and maintenance of piping water systems also enhance the risk of water leakage thus water loss that could potentially cause land-slide, nutrient loss in top soil where there is farming.
How has your solution increased the capacity of the ecosystem to adapt to potential climate changes?
A community in need of clean water after heavy rainfall' perspective is that the assisted catchment system will pipe efficiently into storage tank(s) which are protected and filtered from falling organic matter, animal waste liable to contaminate a typical open source. A community in need of clean water after a dry spell' perspective is that assisted bore-hole and storage tank system ensures that regulated access to water by all households in the settlement/school enhances the chance of students still attending classes and people valuing the water resource in desperate situations. What is most prominent in the water-assisted initiative by RPW is the engagement of plumbers to assist the community in the set-up of piping and the skills to reduce water leakage.
How does your solution reduce the exposure of and buffer/protect the communities affected?
Ensuring that there is safer and sustainable systems for water access reduces the exposure of already vulnerable communities during times of dry spell. Water catchment systems are usually high upland therefore, above river/stream/sea level thus able to manage when there is a flooding incident. Project designs of upgrading water catchments/bore-hole/piping/water-filtration system and considers the geomorphology of the local area-streams, river, plain, coast.
How does your solution reduce the sensitivity of the communities affected?
Despite water availability this doesn't usually guarantee access to safe drinking water. Treated water supply and community-based water quality monitoring are measures to manage the turbidity problems and water-borne disease causing organisims detected in supply to households. The protection of these water sources are crucial for example, in the water source management planning process to make known to owners of livestock to ensure that a buffer zone is demarcated near any water source where assisted piping was done.
How has your solution increased the capacity of local communities to adapt to potential climate changes?
Freshwater is an essential yet threatened resource that is dependent on rainfall collection and extraction of limited groundwater lens reserves. It is projected that Fiji's maximum daily rainfall of 200mm (FMS, 2011) is projected to become less frequent and a warming atmosphere with the recurrence of maximum temperature exceeding 35 degree Celcius will become a normal occurrence by 2100. Upgrading, maintenance of water storage and catchment systems are equally vital to the health and well-being of a community just as protection of water source and improved land use practices highlighted during a water source management planning process. Communities become well-informed and aware of the quality of water they access. Schools continue to be opened with no reason to close for that is the norm during dry spells or failure of infrastructure or that there is contaminated water. During times of a disaster response and recovery, RPW provides information to Divisional Commissioners on the water-assisted communities which would have been better prepared and less likely to require emergency support in aspects of access to safe water during such times. This eases to an extent the burden of deploying resources across a division during a natural disaster response initiative.
Can this solution be replicated elsewhere?
There are several lessons at different levels. The RPW Foundation builds on public/private partnerships with corporates that genuinely assists the delivery of water services to rural communities in alignment to national policies, such as in our collaboration with Ministry of Health-Public Health section and the Department of Water and Sewerage. Water-driven solution at the grass-root level. Ensure access to safer and drinking water supply enhances the resilience of these rural communities in aspects of health and rural development initiatives.