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$36.6 million dollar canal could reduce flooding

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Jan. 6, 2010) - A FJ$70 million [US$36.6 million] project is being proposed for a diversion canal to prevent further flooding in Nadi town Fiji.

[PIR editor’s note: Situated in the north west of Viti Levu, Nadi Town is the third largest centre in Fiji. It is considered a hub of commerce and tourism and has a population estimated at 43,000 people.]

If constructed, the canal is expected to run from alongside McDonalds to Wailoaloa Beach.

Permanent Secretary for Lands, Maria Matavewa, confirmed that a committee had been formed to look into the feasibility of the proposal.

She said the idea of having a river diversion canal was recommended by a team of experts from Japan through the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) in 1998.

It followed a two-year study of flood mitigation along major rivers in Fiji and technical assistance from JICA, Ms. Matavewa said.

"We are waiting for experts from Japan to come and conduct another study," she said.

Nadi Town special administrator, Aisea Tuidraki, said they were also receiving technical assistance from the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC).

"We have the Commissioner Western's office, the Native Land Trust Board and the government departments," he said.

Meanwhile, the dredging of the Nadi River is now into its third phase and is expected to temporarily relieve the problem of flooding in the town.

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