Scaling Up the Soasoa Drainage System, Fiji

The ‘Scaling up the Soasoa drainage system, Fiji’ project will enhance the efforts of previous projects to protect vulnerable coastal communities in the Macuata Province, especially the Soasoa community in Labasa, from coastal flooding and inundation through implementation of prioritized flood control measures in the Soasoa watershed area.

Project Focus: Coastal Protection

Direct benefit: 4,140 persons
Indirect benefit: 35,947 persons

  • Geographic coordinates: Lat. 18°10’S, Long. 178°27’E
  • Total land area 18,272 km²
  • Exclusive economic zone (EEZ) 1,282,980 km²
  • Population (2017 census) 884,887
    • Temperatures have warmed and will continue to warm with more very hot days in the future.
    • Annual rainfall in Fiji is not projected to change significantly but rainfall may increase in the November–April season with more extreme rain events.
    • Sea level will continue to rise throughout this century.
    • Ocean acidification will continue to increase in Fiji. It will continue to increase and threaten coral reef ecosystems.

Source: BOM, CSIRO, 2014, Climate Variability, Extremes and Change in the Western Tropical Pacific: New Science and Updated Country Reports

How does this project address climate change adaptation in Fiji?

In the Soasoa drainage area levees protect the reclaimed area and a series of floodgates discharge water during low tide. The infrastructure was designed in the 1970s and there is now a need to strengthen this infrastructure to address changes in the climate such as rising sea levels, changing rainfall patterns and extreme rainfall events and associated runoff. This adaptation measure supports the Fijian Government’s efforts to enhance the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities to climate change, articulated in the 5 and 20-Year National Development Plan, the National Climate Change Policy and the National Adaptation Plan.

Focusing on the people and communities living in the Soasoa watershed area, the project will adopt a participatory and inclusive approach that addresses the vulnerabilities and the rights of all residents. Skills in climate resilience will be enhanced, particularly for provincial and district government officers and community leaders. The project will focus on constructing prioritized flood control measures such as flood gates and raising the levees, upgrading of existing spillways and widening of channels along the Soasoa drainage area. Management of the Soasoa watershed to complement hard flood control infrastructure will be a key component of the project. A 30-year (2020 – 2050) watershed management plan for the Soasoa watershed will be developed, in consultation with communities and stakeholders, and will be supported by an action plan.

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Key Highlights

  • Consulting with stakeholders to prepare a watershed management plan to guide the use, development and conservation of the Soasoa watershed area to 2030.
  • Conducting a topographical survey of the Soasoa watershed area to inform the watershed management plan and the prioritization and selection of the flood control measures.
  • Developing detailed engineering designs for the flood control measures including one flood gate, one flap gate, raising the levee by 0.2m, and widening of the river channel.
  • Undertaking environmental screening and the preparation of an environmental management plan.
  • Construction of the prioritized flood control measures.
  • Conducting a needs analysis and raising awareness about climate resilience for local area stakeholders.
  • Building the capacity of community leaders and local government officers in climate resilience through accredited training.
  • Integrating climate change and disaster risk into local area sustainable development plans.
  • Assessing the impacts of past climate change adaptation projects and applying the results to national strategic planning.
  • Enabling national sector agencies prepare comparable cost estimates for the measures prioritized in the National Adaptation Plan 2021-2025.

Activities meet the following SDGs:


Strengthening coastal protection measures

Concept Note

Climate Change Profile

Consultation Report – Nov 2019

Project Design Document – Amended July 2021

National Steering Committee

First Steering Committee meeting- May 2020

Second Steering Committee meeting- Sept 2020

Watershed Management Plan


Final Watershed Management Plan- Soasoa Drainage Area


Videos: Watershed Management Plan

Engineering Design

Environmental Impact Assessment Screening

TC Yasa and Ana Damages Assessment report

Virtual Tour- Soasoa Drainage Area

Adaptation Planning

Web Story: Pilot training workshop: Determining the cost of climate change adaptation measures in Fiji


Building community resilience

Country Brief

Desktop Review