GEF’s IWRM Releases Progress Snapshots on Fiji, Majuro Atoll, Samoa, Niue and Palau

GEFApril 2013: The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Pacific "Implementing Sustainable Water Resources and Wastewater Management in Pacific Island Countries" project has issued progress snapshots for Fiji, Majuro Atoll (Marshall Islands), Niue, Palau and Samoa. 

The Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), together with 14 Pacific Island countries, executes the project, which aims to improve water resources and management through policy and legislative reform, and implementation of applicable and effective Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and Water Use Efficiency (WUE) plans.

In Fiji, the project titled 'Integrated Flood Risk Management in the Nadi River Basin' is helping to reduce flood risks and vulnerability related to floods by rehabilitating degraded areas, promoting sustainable land and forest management practices with landowners. Approximately 80 hectares have been planted with trees, and the project has established a warning system, as well as created a community-based disaster management committee (CDMC).

In Niue, the project titled 'Using Integrated Land Use, Water Supply and Wastewater Management as a Protection Model for the Alofi Town Groundwater Supply and Nearshore Reef Fishery' shows progress in strengthening legal frameworks for water resource management and enhancing drinking water availability. Key actions involve the enactment of the Niue Water Act, which protects water resources, the establishment and implementation of National and Village Drinking Water Safety Plans, and reduction of water loss and increase of water storage.

In Palau, the project titled 'Ngerikiil Watershed Restoration for Improved Water Quality' has strengthened national and watershed level coordination of water resource management. The Presidential endorsement of Palau's First Water and Sanitation Policy is highlighted as the key outcome. In addition, buffer zones were established, land rehabilitated, and extra funds for watershed conservation were secured.

In the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), comprised of 29 atolls and 5 islands, the IWRM Demonstration Project titled 'Integrated Water and Land Management for the Sustainable use of the Laura Water Lens, Majuro Atoll' reports improved levels of groundwater pollution. Through the National IWRM Task Force, a National Water and Sanitation Policy was developed, which significantly helped to reduce pollution discharges into the Laura groundwater, particularly from pig waste.

In Samoa, the project titled 'Rehabilitation and Sustainable Management of the Apia Catchment' reports progress through strengthening legal frameworks for water resource management and securing access to safe drinking water. Key outcomes include: increase of land reserve by purchasing specific areas capable of reducing water stress; finalization of three Watershed Management Plans that elect buffer zones and natural reserves; development of the Watershed Conservation Policy to guide legislation to reserve upland areas for water resource conservation; and work on water quality. [IWRM Website and Progress Snapshots]