National IWRM Diagnostic Report Fiji Islands


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Publication Title

National IWRM Diagnostic Report Fiji Islands

Publication Type

Diagnostic report


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This report identifies the present status of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in the Fiji Islands and barriers to the more effective implementation of IWRM. Because water performs so many important functions for society, the responsibility for water is always spread among different organisations, public and private, and is located among several government ministries. IWRM is both a set of mechanisms and a process. IWRM implies several ways to managing, which are:

  • Integration of planning and execution of programmes undertaken by various government ministries and organisations.
  • An adaptive approach that takes into account the natural variability of water resources as well as the changes in development and society that affect and are affected by water – seeing IWRM as a process.
  • The involvement of society at all levels in water management decisions.

IWRM is defined as ‘a process that promotes the co-ordinated development and management of water, land and related resources, in order to maximize the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems’ (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation). IWRM implies an integrated approach, linking and consistently managing all sectoral activities that have a relation to water and it equally implies a that the complexity of water resources demands a consultative approach to decision-making.

The implementation of IWRM in Fiji requires a number of features to be developed simultaneously. Barriers to IWRM presently include the following:

  • Lack of detailed policy and strategy to which the government is committed, including clarification of national IWRM objectives.
  • Inadequacy of legislation.
  • Lack of robust coordination arrangements at national level, with adequate supporting resources.
  • Lack of ministerial and departmental responsibility for IWRM or water management and the resources to undertake the activities required.
  • Lack of formal responsibility for the major water resources data fields and a rationalised data collection programme to support for long-term IWRM objectives and the data sharing and coordination mechanisms to allow comparable data to be used for investigation and planning.
  • Inadequate planning mechanisms and in some cases powers to ensure the control of activities for the purposes of water allocation and water body protection.
  • A serious deficit of technical and scientifically qualified staff in the government service.
  • Less than ideal levels of understanding in the population, particularly some rural populations, of the need to conserve water and use appropriate waste disposal methods.

The key capacity building requirements are considered to be:

  • Active policy development on key water management issues;
  • Continuation with legislative changes already commenced;
  • Establishment of much improved linkages between sectors, both formal and information, including at the local and watershed planning scale;
  • Technical and human resources capacity building and the identification of sources of finance.
  • Serious consideration of the long-term sustainability of water services and schemes and means to ensure they will continue to deliver (or be improved to deliver) the essential services required (in particular reliable and safe water supply);
  • Proactive approaches to water protection and responses to water threats and vulnerabilities by planning between crises and learning from disasters that have already occurred;
  • Education and understanding about water and its protection by urban and rural people to be promoted more actively.


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