SPC Geoscience Division

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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.


Last Updated on Sunday, 20 June 2010 12:44  


Prof. Michael Petterson has taken up his appointment as Director of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC) succeeding Dr Russell Howorth, whose tenure with the organization officially ended on 31st January 2013

Before taking up this position with SPC, Prof. Petterson, who is from the United Kingdom, held a Professorship of Applied and Environmental Geosciences at the University of Leicester, from 2009, before which he was Director of Science, Skills and Facilities at the British Geological Survey for five years.

Holding a PhD in geology (1984) and a post graduate certificate in education (1985), Prof. Petterson is a chartered geologist, a chartered engineer, Fellow of the Geological Society of London, Member of the Institute of Materials, Mining and Metallurgy, life member of the Association of Geoscientists for International Development, Member of the Society of Economic Geologists, and he is a member of the STAR network.