New EPS water project to benefit 450 people

Caption: Students at Saint John’s College in Cawaci, Ovalau celebrate the commissioning of their new and improved water source.

SUVA – More than 450 students of Saint John’s College and community members from surrounding areas in Cawaci on Ovalau now have access to clean, safe and quality drinking water.

This follows the commissioning of the St. John’s College’s Ecological Purification System (EPS) Water Project by the Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management, Hon. Sakiasi Ditoka.

Funded under the Ministry of Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management’s High-Risk Water Programme, this $45,000 investment by the Coalition Government is envisaged to also address health issues previously faced by the beneficiaries, particularly at St John’s College.

St John’s College Principal Mr. Alosio Saukuru acknowledged the Government for the much-needed help, saying that the school was grateful that their cries had not fallen on deaf ears.

Mr Saukuru said since its inception, the school had always faced water issues, heavily relying on rainwater harvesting most times.

“In 2017 we farewelled a student here who died of meningococcal bacteria, leaving this school a red zone with the Ministry of Health. Since then we have been trying our level best to see how we would counter such a health risk factor. Countless students have fallen sick due to waterborne diseases. But with this new and improved water source, we are very grateful to your Ministry for undertaking this project at our school,” Mr Saukuru said.

In commissioning the project, Minister Ditoka highlighted that the EPS Project was a continuing realisation of the Coalition Government’s vision to continually align its commitment to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 – the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

“We are witnessing the culmination of months, even years, of dedicated efforts to improving our community. With the integrated approach taken by the Government, necessary studies were undertaken and relevant funding was sourced to ensure the implementation of this project to eliminate the deprivation of this community from accessing filtered and clean water supply,” Hon. Ditoka said.

“I understand that the issues identified in our previous water source were elements of E.coli, which if left unaddressed, would inevitably lead to more health risks. This places our community especially our students most vulnerable and susceptible to water-borne sicknesses. That is where our involvement as your Government comes in, it is incumbent upon us to take proactive measures to safeguard our communities. Your ecological purification system that is being inaugurated today aims to improve the school and the community’s safe water reticulation system. Past its tangible benefits, this purification system signifies something even more essential, that is; hope. It is an inspiration of hope for a brighter, more sustainable future.”

Minister Ditoka added that the completion of the EPS Project was an indication of the concerted effort between the community and the Government.

Caption: Minister for Rural and Maritime Development and Disaster Management Hon. Sakiasi Ditoka hands over the certificate to mark the commissioning of the water project.