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Water and Sanitation Programme

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A long-term programme of capacity building, advocacy and awareness in sustainable water management for Pacific Island Countries.

SOPAC, the regional agency mandated to coordinate water and sanitation in the Pacific, provides support to its member countries through three components: Water Resources Management; Water and Sanitation Services; and Water Governance.

Pacific Island countries have uniquely fragile water resources due to their small size, lack of natural storage, competing land use and vulnerability to natural hazards.


Pollution of freshwater resources, unsafe drinking water supplies and inadequate sanitation can have a significant impact on public health, quality of life, the environment and economic development.


Urbanization, rural development, growing populations, climate change and increased demand from industry and agriculture is putting further pressure on the region’s freshwater resources, threatening the long term viability of communities and islands.


Natural disasters exacerbate water issues. Excessive rainfall, often linked to cyclones and typhoons, causes flooding and disruption of drinking water supplies. Small islands that rely on groundwater and/or rainwater harvesting are highly vulnerable to droughts, often linked to El Niño or La Niña triggered climatic disruptions. Both situations – too much or too little water – compromise the safety of drinking water supplies and increase the risk to public health.

www.pacificwater.org

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 June 2010 12:44  


Newsflash

22 August 2013 - Secretariat of the Pacific Community - Suva, Fiji - Better preparing communities for cyclones, floods, droughts, and predicted sea level rise is a top priority for many Pacific island nations. The urgency to prepare however, does not justify cutting corners.

Climate change adaptation planning should follow the same national processes as any development, with environmental impact assessments, technical surveys, and cost benefit analyses.

This was the argument Dr. Arthur Webb of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Applied Geo Science and Technology Division (SOPAC) presented to a diverse audience of students, academics and development practitioners at USP Marine Science Campus on Thursday 17th August.

“Nine out of ten communities want a sea wall,” said Dr. Webb, an expert in coastal processes, “but putting concrete over a healthy beach system is an example of maladaptation. It will do more harm than good. Not only will it disrupt the flow of sediments, in many cases increasing erosion, but it’s terrible for tourism.”

Webb displayed examples of maladaptation that had been carried out in the Pacific. In one instance, mangroves were planted on an atoll coastline where they were not naturally occurring.