Water infrastructure damage unacceptable: Ro Filipe

April 13, 2024 12:55 pm

Minister for Public Works, Ro Filipe Tuisawau

Minister for Public Works, Ro Filipe Tuisawau, says the incident that led to the damage of a trunk main on Princess Road in Tamavua is unacceptable.

The burst main occurred after a contractor, working for another organization, was conducting horizontal directional drilling and as a result, damaged the trunk on Thursday morning.

This has led to water cuts in the greater Suva area, including Walu Bay, Mead Road, Samabula, Lami, Waimanu Road, and Rewa Street.

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Ro Filipe says these kinds of incidents cannot continue.

The Minister has asked his team to look into the matter and report the contractor for property damage, which might include criminal charges.

“So it’s something we cannot tolerate anymore. I mean disasters, cyclones and all that is part of the natural process but this incident in Tamavua is just is not acceptable. Probably it’s within the ministry within the entities but basically the contractor was just totally ignorant and it’s just careless work by them.”

Ro Filipe says he has asked the Water Authority of Fiji Board members and executives to brief all contractors on the location of underground cables before they are allowed any digging.

He also states that the contractors should be monitored by WAF, the Fiji Roads Authority, and Energy Fiji Limited while they are carrying out their work.

“For example FRA, Water Authority, the need for closer consultation. So I’m reminding all those within the ministry to ensure that the work is carried out diligently and there is proper monitoring in terms of adhering to work procedures especially for contractors who are working near the utilities.”

Ro Filipe says the damage, such as the one on the WAF pipeline on Princess Road, causes a lot of inconvenience to the general public.

Meanwhile, WAF says the repair team on-site has managed to completely dewater the trunk main.

It says the fault is located next to a thrust block, which is expected to delay repairs, as instead of repairing with clamps or welding, they will now have to cut and replace the entire damaged section.