Why watershed management matters?
Watershed condition affects the health and well-being of people and the downstream environments in which they live. Recent studies indicate that there is higher incidence of waterborne bacterial diseases like typhoid and leptospirosis within watersheds with high amounts of cleared land and higher densities of livestock accessing waterways, while watershed alterations that promote flooding and standing water can accelerate transmission of dengue. Studies also show that some of these same activities result in greater sediments and nutrients entering waterways, which can have devastating impacts on freshwater and coastal coral reef ecosystems on which local people depend for food, livelihoods and cultural practice. These findings suggest that targeted watershed and water management can both reduce water-related disease risk and improve downstream ecosystem condition to support the foundation for overall system health. The Watershed Interventions for Systems Health in Fiji (WISH Fiji) project embraces this integrated approach by working with national and local government, rural communities and the commercial sector in Fiji to take a systems approach to health and well-being through focused action within five river sub-catchments with documented cases of typhoid, leptospirosis and/or dengue. We are transforming management from reactive to preventative action by improving the ability of integrated systems to predict, prevent, respond and recover from water-related diseases and natural disasters.
Learning about the WISH Fiji Project with Dr. Stacy Jupiter
WISH Fiji Project Mid-Term Review Workshop Reflection