Monday, April 21, 2008

GPS/GIS technology to monitor leaks in Fiji

THE Public Works Department in Fiji will soon have a hawk's eye view to monitor the illegal connection to water meters and find leaks as it is in the process of buying software for a Global Position System.

Department of Water and Sewerage spokesman Maika Nagalu said staff in the Central, Eastern and Western divisions had undergone training on GPS and Geographic Information System (GIS).

He said the department was working with the Department of Lands to map out the positions of water mains, meters and pipes.

Mr Nagalu said the training course was part of a pilot project held in Sigatoka for PWD technical assistance staff on how to use GPS and GIS. He said apart from detecting illegal connection, the system could locate leakages for maintenance.

Mr Nagalu said illegally pipe connection normally occurred when water supply was disconnected because of unpaid bills. "We are in the process of buying software equipment and working with the Land Information System to pin-point boundaries on maps. Once that is in place, staff who attended the course will mark the boundaries," he said.

He said the PWD had not yet started using the GPS and GIS systems, with its Leakage Detection Unit handling complaints. Mr Nagalu said GPS and GIS systems would help management.

At an earlier workshop on 2007 by GIS specialist Doctor Wolf Forstreuter, said GPS and GIS would assist
PWD in detecting leaks and faulty pipelines which had in the past led to major water cuts and sewerage problems around the country.

The Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) had adapted the GPS/GIS technology made for the European and US markets, and viewed it would be suitable for Fiji and the rest of the Pacific.

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