Monitoring of acidic rain infiltration in WAF raw water catchments ongoing

Testing of the impact of volcanic ash and acidic rain infiltration on Water Authority of Fiji’s raw water supply sources following the volcanic eruption in Tonga is ongoing, Fiji’s Minister for Infrastructure Jone Usamate says, adding that tap water sourced from catchments that have been tested is suitable for drinking with pH valued above 6.5.

pH measure of water measures how acidic or basic water is. It ranges from 0 to 14 with 7 indicating neutral, whilst pHs lower than 7 indicate acidity whereas a reading above 7 indicates alkaline or basic.

Usamate said that the maximum pH recorded from samples collected from some of the 45 raw catchments that WAF oversees measured 6.8.

This falls within the pH range of 6.5 and 8.5 for water deemed suitable for drinking. Quality of water in a few villages in between towns were also tested and found to meet acceptable standards as well.

“After the volcanic eruption in Tonga over the last weekend, the Water Authority of Fiji has been closely monitoring all of its raw water supply pH levels. This activity covers all major urban and semi-urban water supply systems,” Usamate said.

Samples will also be collected from maritime islands including Lau and Kadavu.

“The Water Authority of Fiji [is] also carrying out testing at some rural water supply system sources to get a broader and more representative sample size to determine the impact of volcanic ash and acidic rain infiltration on raw water supply sources. Maritime Islands such Kadavu and the Lau Group are not covered as yet in terms of testing, but WAF, through the Government delegation that will travelling to these islands, will be carrying out the required testing.”

WAF handed over sampling bottles to the government delegation to collect random samples across the Lau Group for full chemical analysis at [the] National Water Quality Laboratory. The WAF looks after 45 raw water supply catchments, this does not include however rural water supply scheme catchments that are looked after by individual water committees.

Monitoring of direct rain pH also continues.

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