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  


Tuesday 15 November, 2011Opening Address by Dr Russell Howorth – Director of the SOPAC Division, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)

Colleagues, may I start by first welcoming you all to the Second Annual Partners Meeting for the Supporting Disaster Risk Reduction in the Pacific Project for the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) and funded by the EU from the 9th European Development Fund.

You will of course all be aware that this Project is benefitting from the outcome of the Regional Institutional Reform process (otherwise known as the RIF process) which has resulted in SOPAC the Commission becoming SOPAC the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the SPC from January 1st of this year.