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In 2005 total water withdrawal was estimated at 84.9 million m│, of which 50 million m3 (59 percent) was for agriculture, 25.3 million m│ (30 percent) for municipalities and 9.6 million m│ (11 percent) for industries (Table 3 and Figure 1).
Surface water is the main source of water supply for all major towns on the larger islands of Fiji that have higher elevation, as well as for industrial and irrigation uses. Groundwater use in large islands is primarily for rural water supply and for increasing some town water supplies. In recent years, some industries have begun to exploit groundwater.
Surface water availability is a problem in some islands with low elevation, which rely exclusively on groundwater and may or may not attempt to use rainwater. Rainwater harvesting using roof catchment systems with a communal standpipe are very popular in rural Fiji. Because of high annual rainfall, installed storage tanks are normally small and do not yet take into account the possibility of extreme climate events and drought.
One commercial use of groundwater has been the water bottling for export that has attained considerable political and public attention (SOPAC, 2007).