Power and water issues stem from the ‘past’

Minister for Infrastructure and Meteorological services Jone Usamate. Picture: FILE

Power and water disruptions Fijians are experiencing today are a direct result of poor decision-making by administrators of the past, says Infrastructure Minister Jone Usamate.

He made the comment in response to queries from The Fiji Times about the ongoing water supply issues in various parts of the country.

“A lot of times in the past, people have just tried to do the new things instead of looking after the old assets, also making sure that they are appropriate and that’s what we’re doing at the moment,” he said.

Mr Usamate said the same applied to road infrastructure.

“For the roads, there’s a lot of ripping and remaking that’s taking place now to conserve the infrastructure that we’ve already had.”

He said with regards to the water disruptions, there has been an issue with “some very old infrastructure”.

“The need to replace those pipes, as you have more and more people concentrated into smaller areas, then the demand for that goes up.

“So over the years, there has not been that emphasis on replacing the infrastructure.

“Now, we do have that emphasis.

“Now, we have new water sources coming in so these things will have to go hand in hand, replacing the old infrastructure and at the same time, making sure that there’s adequate supply of water.”

Mr Usamate said Government was continually focused on improving and replacing old infrastructure, “old pipes, smaller pipes, out-of-date pipes, some of those pipes have been there for decades”.

“When you’re talking about water and electricity, people always want new electricity, new water, sometimes the focus has been on providing the new without changing the old.

“So it’s just coming up with a balance of making sure they change the old and at the same time also address the new.”

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