IUCN - WANI and partners working towards flood mitigation in Fiji

WANI and partners working towards flood mitigation in Fiji

17 December 2010 | News story

Frequent heavy flooding on Fiji’s West Coast has resulted in loss of lives and livelihoods in recent years. A consortium of partners, including IUCN, decided to join forces and share scientific data that will help better identify and analyse flood risks.

Gathered in Nadi on 10 December 2010, relevant stakeholders of the Nadi Basin Catchment Committee (NBCC), including the Ministry of Lands GIS specialist Ms. Rashmi Rita, met to discuss and identify the different sets of data available by partner organisations.

Capturing the Nadi Basin with the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) was identified as a possible solution to the problem of flooding in the city of Nadi. Chairing the forum, IUCN Oceania Water Programme Coordinator Dr. Milika Sobey said “integrating GIS into the project will foster further collaboration across all stakeholders. The aim for the forum is to bring to the table sets of data that each agency has. Once we are aware of the data that is available, it will be easy to convert it to GIS overlays. We will then use this as a modelling tool for flood mitigation” .

With the aim to improve quality and sustainability of water resources in the region, IUCN’s Water and Nature Initiative (WANI) projects focus on good governance, payments for ecosystem services and learning and leadership. The Nadi Basin project also complements the Regional GEF Pacific Integrated Water and Resources Management (IWRM) Project.

Nadi Basin IWRM Project Officer Mrs. Maureen Hazelman told participants other activities of the project involve construction of retention dams at the upper Nadi River catchment, and setting up of early warning systems which include water level recorders and rain gauges. “Using GIS overlays as a flood risk management tool can help the forum or decision makers predict and identify flood prone areas well before disaster strikesMrs. Hazelman said.

The forum ended on a high note, having agreed to bring GIS onto the platform of flood risk management planning amongst partners. The committee’s next steps are for an MoU to be signed by all partners on use of data, and to proceed with digitizing data that will be incorporated into the GIS.

For more information, please contact Dr. Milika Sobey: milika.sobey@iucn.org