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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

Dear colleagues,

Today marks World Water Day, a day of celebration and reflection on a precious natural resource and on our role in its management and protection.

This year is also the International Year of Water Cooperation – a theme of enormous significance to the Pacific. Across the region, water management is a critical development issue with profound implications for economic growth, human rights, public health and the environment. To put the scale of the issue in context, it has been estimated by UNICEF and WHO that little more than half the population of our region has access to improved drinking water and sanitation.

There are clearly major challenges ahead, but today, SPC joins its member countries and territories in celebrating the real progress being achieved through building water partnerships.

In Fiji, the collaborative work of the Nadi Basin Catchment Committee is enabling practical solutions to reduce the human impacts of flooding. This pioneering work demonstrates what can be achieved when communities, agencies and the private sector come together to face a problem that is not solvable through the efforts of individuals.
Innovative technologies continue to be developed and shared across the region. Tuvalu has been particularly active in sharing the knowledge behind its tremendous success in using composting toilets to reduce both use of fresh water and pollution of groundwater lenses and coastal lagoons.

In Palau, Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands, government sectors are joining forces at a subregional level to raise awareness of water and sanitation issues and find solutions to common problems. Our Melanesian members too have begun collaboration to better respond to the development issue of access to safe drinking water and sanitation. With SPC’s support, the Melanesian Spearhead Group Secretariat will shortly appoint a Water and Sanitation Access Facilitator to help develop policy and practical solutions in MSG countries.