Water shortage in Fiji, not for US Water Corporation however

Only cyclone can fix water woes: Prasad

By Elenoa Baselala
February 20, 2010

A TROPICAL depression or cyclone is what it would take to end water supply shortages in the country.

Director of the Fiji Meteorological Office, Rajendra Prasad, said a tropical depression or cyclone would get us out of the situation.

While February is regarded as part of the wet season, he says it has only rained in some parts of the country.

“There are places where the grass has turned green while there are others where the grass is still brown,” he said.

“We are still receiving below average rainfall and it was not as widespread as we had expected.”

Mr Prasad has urged companies that rely on rainwater to prepare themselves. He said reservoirs and dams could have a trouble with supply this season. The dry season begins in May.

Last month, the weather office classified certain areas to be under a “meteorological drought”.

These areas were Navua, Koronivia, Nausori, Labasa, Savusavu, Taveuni and Lakeba. Those in the “warning” stage are Yasawa-i-rara, Viwa, Vatukoula, Ba, Tavua, Sigatoka, Dobuilevu, Dreketi, Seaqaqa, Suva, Nabouwalu, Kadavu and Udu Point.

A meteorological drought is declared if rainfall is well below expected levels for an extended period.  Source

Update March 17 2010:

Well they got a Cyclone. I really do not see how this will help anyone however. Other then maybe some reporters will make it into the disaster area to survey and talk to the people. Seems Reporters have a hard time in Fiji however.

Cyclone Tomas hits Fiji 165 MPH Winds

Of course Guess who makes huge profits at the expense of all concerned.

They take the resources and the hell with the people who should have access to them.

Fiji Water: So cool, so fresh, so bad for the environment?


August 24 2009

The story of Fiji Water, as detailed in a startling investigative piece in Mother Jones magazine this month, seems familiar. Leafing through the story, I found myself trying to remember where I’d read this tale before; like an old melody at the back of my brain, it hovered, just beyond memory.

Suddenly it came to me: it’s Dole, it’s United Fruit, it’s West Indies Sugar Corporation, it’s the old, old story. A company located in a lush, tropical location with a totalitarian government that welcomes foreign interests with deep pockets. It doesn’t tax them, gives them access to the country’s most precious natural resources, and stands by with heavy artillery in hand, protecting them while they strip the country.

Meanwhile, the country’s citizens struggle with terrible poverty, hunger and squalid conditions. The only part of the story that Fiji Water has not yet repeated is the inevitable depletion of the resource — in this case, a 17-mile-long aquifer to which Fiji Water has “near-exclusive access” — and the subsequent abandonment of the country.

What makes this story so difficult to swallow is how eagerly the U.S. seems to have embraced Fiji’s co-owners Stewart and Lynda Resnick. On this side of the Pacific, the pair cheerfully line the pockets of any political figure in sight (they supported both McCain and Obama in the past election) while selling Fiji’s best, cleanest water at a huge profit. On the other side of the ocean, the people of Fiji suffer under terrible water conditions that have led to outbreaks of typhoid and parasitic infections.

It appears that America adores the Resnicks: Lynda brags that she knows “everyone in the world, every mogul, every movie star.” These relationships have proven handy, as the Resnicks have reaped $1.5 million a year in water subsidies for their almond, pistachio and pomegranate crops in the U.S.

These agricultural water subsidies must be viewed in context: the stress from travelling to pollinate the almond “monoculture” crops like the ones the Resnicks grow, along with the pesticides they sell, are considered to be some of the major reasons that bees are succumbing to colony collapse disorder. And the Resnicks control an enormous amount of California water infrastructure that was built by public funds. They have a 48 percent interest in the Kern Water Bank, which was meant to collect water from aqueducts and the Kern River and to redistribute this water in times of drought.

%Poll-33708% The Resnicks and their Paramount Farms and Paramount Citrus could use the water to irrigate their fields (which are already subsidized by the government), or they could sell it to municipalities. According to critics, the Resnicks are “trying to ‘game’ the water market the way Enron gamed the energy market.”

So the Resnicks are not known for their even-handedness with politicians or water, and their practices in the U.S. are not the greenest of all possible greens. In fact, they could share responsibility for many of our environmental woes. They could have a hand in California’s future water shortages, during which they could profit gloriously. All the while, they are loudly and proudly marketing Fiji Water as the most environmentally friendly bottled water company in the world.

This, of course, is not saying much. Bottled water is notorious for its position in top five lists of “what not to do” for the planet. One day, future civilizations will look back on this decade and wonder in disbelief why it was that we pumped water out of one part of the planet, encased it in plastic, then encased it again for shipping, and spent many many non-renewable resources to bring it to another part of the planet where clean water was already plentiful. It’s patently ridiculous.

The story is disturbing because of the truths it tells us about ourselves and our society. It’s not just the water thing. It’s the marketing. Lynda Resnick has been repeatedly described as a marketing genius for her ability to transform Fiji Water into a must-have accessory for environmentally-conscious celebrities and politicians, despite its heavy use of plastic and questionable commitment to environmentally sustainable practices. And oh, we are drinking the marketing at far greater rates than we are drinking the water. Our celebrities both enormous (Obama, Paris, and their ilk) and minor (the geekarati at the SXSW festival) can’t live without it. So neither can we. Whatever celebrities sell us? YUM. Damn the consequences.

It’s troubling, at the end of the story, that the company is not, as Anna Lenzer writes in her follow-up to the story (after Fiji Water spokesman Rob Six defended his company) doing anything about the military junta now controlling Fiji. “A UN official . . . in a recent commentary . . . singled out Fiji Water as the one company with enough leverage to force the junta to budge.”

The commentary, by the way, was titled “Why Obama should stop drinking Fiji water.”

Update: A spokesman for Roll International Corporation, the parent company of Fiji Water, contacted DailyFinance, claiming that there are factual errors in the piece. Roll International maintains that Fiji Water is not profitable, and that the company does not receive subsidies from the state of California.


One has to wonder how many other Corporations are stealing Fiji Resources?

Considering the Poverty one would think any company or corporation would be a bit more responsible. Seems of course this is not the case however.

What is Poverty in Fiji

Poverty is a difficult concept to understand and maintain an objective perspective.

Poverty in Fiji identifies those households, which cannot afford the basic minimum nutritionally adequate and palatable diet. It also define as that situation in which people are unable to obtain sufficient amounts of food, water, shelter, clothing, education and health care to meet their basic needs.

This  poverty line is simply a certain level of income or expenditure below which an individual or family will be deprived of the basic necessities of life for a specified time  and period. It is calculated in terms of expenditure for a nutritionally adequate diet plus expenditure for non-food items such  rent, clothing, fuel etc.

Overview  of  Poverty in Fiji

In a recent study in Fiji it was found that one quarter of the household’s were classified as poor, but many more were in constant danger of sliding into poverty or destitution because their household income was so small. The study also found that the poor were not a homogenous group –poor people were not necessarily subsistence farmers, the unemployed or the lazy.  Most poor households had someone in employment. The basic needs poverty line in Fiji was $83 (gross income) per week at national level. Source

Of course with poverty comes Prostitution.

Poverty linked to prostitution

Monday, February 15, 2010

Prostitution can not be wiped out in Fiji as long as poverty exists, says the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) co-ordinator Shamima Ali.

Ms Ali says tougher laws on prostitution will impact but it will still exist.

“There are higher chances that prostitution will be pushed into being an underground activity,” she said.

“It is a very old profession and goes back so many years, and the poverty and lack of education for women is not helping either.”

Ms Ali said prostitution was fuelled by men’s desire for sex.

She said the Crime Decree was a good approach to fight sex crimes and the sex trade.

But, she said, the root of the problem was poverty and this had to be eradicated first.

Ms Ali said the level of poverty in some areas of the country was extreme and the FWCC was aware of cases where wives turned to prostitution to earn money for the family.

She said the sex trade provided easy and more money than legal employment.

Meanwhile, police, on the other hand, will crackdown on all those involved in the sex trade industry.

Police suspect that massage parlours and some hotels are involved in the trade.

An investigation by the police has come up with startling revelations that people are getting much more than just a massage at parlours, said the police spokesman, Sergeant Suliano Tevita.

“Our investigations have shown us that people are given rooms in massage parlours and we suspect that this is for the purpose of prostitution.”

Sgt Tevita said the implementation of the new anti-prostitution law in the Crimes Decree had given the police power to prosecute people associated with the sex trade industry.

“Similarly, hotel and motel owners and management can also face charges if police find them facilitating prostitution in their establishments,” he warned.

The Crimes Decree states that people who make a living off prostitution are liable for a jail term of six months, while people caught hiring prostitutes can get jail terms of up to 12 years.

Anyone found operating a brothel or services which procure prostitution are liable for prosecution. The penalties are harsher when the crime involves people under the age of 18.

Under the new decree, this crime is punishable by a prison sentence of 12 months. The decree also states that any person residing with a prostitute is also liable.

Punishment in regards to prostitution ranges from 12 years to three months in jail and also includes fines.  Source


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  1. Dear Rainbow Warrior:

    We value your interest in FIJI Water and can appreciate the concern about the people of Fiji in particular. As a company, supporting the places in which we do business is of paramount concern. I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify some of the points stated in your blog posting and provide you with some facts on the work we do in Fiji through The FIJI Water Foundation.

    Where Does FIJI Water Come From?
    There are many rumors that FIJI Water is depleting a natural resource that cannot be replenished. That is not the case! FIJI Water comes from a virgin ecosystem located at the edge of a primitive rainforest in the Yaqara Valley on the island of Viti Levu in Fiji.

    FIJI Water’s aquifer is very large and the bore hole, that penetrates through the confining layers of volcanic rock that surround the aquifer, averages a depth of several hundred feet. FIJI Water spends hundreds of years filtering through the volcanic rock from the valley’s highlands before reaching the aquifer from which it is extracted and bottled. Over this lengthy period of time, the water picks up natural minerals and high levels of silica. The mineral composition of FIJI Water correlates and is consistent with a filtration process that spans up to 500 years.

    The bore hole is the only means for this fine water to be brought to the earth’s surface. Once there, it is immediately bottled. Our bottling facility literally sits on top of the aquifer itself. The water is untouched by man until you open the cap!

    The Yaqara Valley receives over 100 inches of rainfall each year so the aquifer is naturally replenished and is self-sustaining. Under these climatic conditions, over 500 millions liters of water could be extracted through the bore hole each year. At this time, just a small fraction of this amount is extracted and bottled so consumers can enjoy FIJI Water around the world.

    Accessing clean water for Fijians
    The issue in Fiji is not one of lack of water, but lack of infrastructure to access the clean water. Below, please find some facts in regards to our clean water projects in Fiji.

    · To date, FIJI Water has supported over 100 water projects and brought clean drinking water to over 35,000 people across Fiji – nearly 5% of the population in just two years.

    · In all the villages, settlements, and schools surrounding our factory, FIJI Water has worked with local leadership to construct sustainable, clean water projects and provide technical assistance where necessary. These projects provide 24,570,000 L water per year for more than 2,250 people. We’ve facilitated the establishment of water committees engaging women, youth, and our employees in these villages to control usage and oversee maintenance of the water resources.

    · During the January 2009 Floods, FIJI Water suspended production and mobilized our fleet of trucks to deliver more than 1,000,000 L to communities and evacuation centers, reaching more than 20,000 people.

    · FIJI Water regularly makes water available to schools, hospitals, organizations, and communities during times of need. To date, 600 L have been donated to the Ministry of Health to assist affected communities during the recent typhoid outbreak and more is available as needed.

    FIJI Water and the Fijian Government
    FIJI Water is not involved with the government of the day. We have never received any special treatment or favors from the government currently in power. Since the company began operations in 1996, there have been several governments in Fiji. When we bought the company in November 2004, Fiji had a democratically elected government.

    The reality is that politics in Fiji is incredibly complicated. There are issues of race, language, culture, religion, etc., that go back decades and there have been many political setbacks that have limited Fiji’s potential for economic development.

    As a private U.S. company doing business in Fiji, we are a guest of the country. As with other American companies with a significant presence in Fiji, we cannot get involved in the internal workings of their government. The state of the government is a situation that can only be determined by the Fijian people themselves.

    What we can do is try to help the socio-economic development of Fiji as much as we can by running a world-class company that provides much-needed jobs, health care, education, and clean drinking water to the people who live in the villages surrounding our company and the greater community of Fiji.

    The FIJI Water “Tax Break”
    We pay millions of dollars a year in taxes to Fiji. These taxes include withholding tax, import duties, Value Added Tax (VAT), an employee tax called PAYE, and an additional royalty payment based upon the quantity of water bottled within Fiji. This latter tax is an extraction tax and assures the government receives payments whether or not FIJI Water earns a profit. Thus, even if we lose money, the government obtains a considerable payment from FIJI Water.

    As you can see from the above facts, FIJI Water is committed to creating a sustainable and healthy environment for the people of Fiji. Just like any company doing business in another country, we support the local people and work alongside the local government.

    Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions. We hope that you find this helpful in your research.

  2. FIJI Water: Very nice of you to drop by.
    I am always willing to give everyone a fair chance. I can give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Not all companies are bad, but there are so many that are, it can be difficult to tell which ones are truly being honest.

    Many use the same tired lines, to convince people they are doing good things.

    You said. “Just like any company doing business in another country, we support the local people and work alongside the local government. ”

    To that I can only say there are many “Companies” that exploit those in poor countries. Many companies hire mercenaries who do a great deal of harm to the civilian population. Many companies leave behind a horrendous amount of pollution.

    If you wander through this blog you will note there are a few stories on this subject. So saying you are concerned, as other companies may not convince anyone that you really do. You may not want to put yourself into that category, if you really do assist the population locally. Maybe you should have said unlike other companies we are concerned and or support the local population.

    It is unfortunate there are so many who exploit poor people. This of course is a fact world wide even in the US. Yes yes sweat shops have been found in the US, and immigrant farm workers are also exploited to name a few.

    In 2010 there is still slavery. One would think in this day and age, the people and corporations of the world would have grown up. Even child labor is alive and well.

    Unfortunately for you many could easily assume you may be exploiting people even if you do not.

    Admittedly using plastic in itself can be problematic for any company. You yourself as a company do not make the plastic, but it is bad for the environment. No one can argue that point. That too is a fact.

    The pollution aspect of plastic.
    Wars happen to create plastic, simply to get the oil to make the plastic. War Pollution is horrific and many millions die, so the oil can be accessed to make the plastic. Is that a problem well of course it is. Even the creation of weapons for war devastates the enviroment. https://rainbowwarrior2005.wordpress.com/2008/10/09/war-pollution-equals-millions-of-deaths/

    Pollution is one of the main concerns of those who want to protect the environment. Even the Tar Sands in Canada is a horrific disaster, environmental wise. https://rainbowwarrior2005.wordpress.com/2008/12/08/alberts-oil-sands-a-disaster-to-the-enviroment/

    * Plastic bottles take 700 years to begin composting
    * 90% of the cost of bottled water is due to the bottle itself
    * 80% of plastic bottles are not recycled
    * 38 million plastic bottles go to the dump per year in America from bottled water (not including soda)
    * 24 million gallons of oil are needed to produce a billion plastic bottles
    * The average American consumes 167 bottles of water a year
    * Bottling and shipping water is the least energy efficient method ever used to supply water
    * Bottled water is the second most popular beverage in the United States

    You may be actually be helping the people of Fiji and providing jobs and support to the local communities, that is wonderful, but others do suffer for the plastic alone.
    So simply using plastic, as many other companies do is bad for the environment.

    What a pity the water is not pollution free through out the world. Unfortunately in the creation of plastic in itself, destroys the water supplies world wide. War being a major polluter. Accessing the oil and refining it another major polluter.

    Those who pollute are everyone’s problem even yours.
    Protect the environment the life you save may be your own.
    There are many companies that destroy water and the environment.
    If those companies were more responsible, we would have no need for bottled water.

    As caretakers of the planet, we have failed the next generation, as well as our selves.

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