19 Sep 2003

Water shortages affect parts of Fiji

10:30 am on 19 September 2003

Fiji is facing a major water crisis following several weeks of dry weather.

The Public Works Department has started shutting off water to many areas of the capital, Suva, after 10 pm every night and lowered water pressure at other times.

The water level at the Monasavu hydro-electric dam has fallen to a critically low level.

With forecasters predicting continuing dry weather for another month, the drought is already having a severe effect on people, animals and crops in rural areas across many parts of the country.

The secretary of the National Farmers Union and Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has called on the government to re-introduce the crop rehabilitation scheme for farmers.

He says during a similar drought in 1998, the government provided crop rehabilitation assistance as well as cash grants to farmers.