Villagers Told of Dredging Impacts
The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted by Corerega Environment Consultant has revealed that there could be negative impacts from the Sigatoka River dredging.
These impacts will include change in river flow, loss of habitat breeding/spawning, mangrove disturbance, sanity intrusions and migration and loss of fisheries, says Technical Officer Lands and Water resource management, Epineri Dalituicama.
During the Nadroga/Navosa Provincial awareness on the Sigatoka River dredging at the Nasigatoka Village hall yesterday, Mr Dalituicama explained this to the Tikina Sigatoka. This includes seven villages. These villages are Laselase, Nayawa, Yavulo, Sigatoka, Nasama,Vunavutu and Volivoli. They have given there support to the river dredging.
Mr Dalituicama said the owners consented and waived their fishing rights in the meantime, but “the beneficiaries are the owners of the fishing rights and Tikina Nokonoko, Tikina Nasigatoka, Tikina Conua owners gave in writing for the waiver.”
Mr Dalituicama also made it clear that they were not going to let dredging works affect the ecosystem because they were looking at an Environmental Management plan and continuous monitor of the salinity and water quality.
He said the Environment Management committee will oversee the dredging project and compliance to EIA conditions.
“While there will be fish loss in the short term it will return immediately, there will be lights fixed on pipes to help navigation and there will be a control on the dump site and water discharge,” he said.
Mr Dalituicama also presented the positive impact of dredging.
He said: “Dredging will reduce flood and vulnerability which will reduce damages to the infrastructure.
“There will be land reclamation from dredge spoil and gradually the river flow and drainage system will improve along with the water quality.”
Mr Dalituicama also stated that those who had licence to extract could also engage in the sale of sand.
Apart of provincial heads, other concerned residents were also present at the meeting.
The agreement to back the dredging plan was signed by the village heads in 2010 at Nokonoko in Sigatoka during a meeting.
Mr Dalituicama said that the Sigatoka Town Council maintained the right to request the Ministry of Environment to stop the dredging should there be any issues.