PACC RMI: Addressing high evaporation rates of current water storage systems and facilities
Through the PACC programme United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) are working to reduce climate vulnerability and promote more resilient Pacific communities that are able to cope with climate variability today and climate change tomorrow. In the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), the PACC project focuses on water resources management on the Majuro Atoll, where the nation’s capital is located.
For more information on the 13 additional participating countries and the Overall PACC Programme, click here.
PACC RMI is working to address the issue of high evaporation rates of current water storage facilities and demonstrating a whole-island approach to climate change adaptation. PACC RMI is demonstrating the benefits of preparing for future climate change risks in the water sector and is also working on ways to improve water usage in other sectors, particularly agriculture, during droughts. PACC RMI will take action through several approaches to improve water resource management:
Policy mainstreaming: To improve water quality and conservation policy, the PACC RMI project is developing national and sectoral policies, with a special concentration on drought periods. Currently, the water and sanitation policy incorporating climate change is completed and now under review through series of consultations with community. It will be put up for legislation by August 2012.
Community-based adaptation: In addition to policy mainstreaming efforts, there are a number of capacity building measures and concrete installations intended to enhance climate-resilience in RMI. These efforts are in place to achieve the second PACC outcome: to design and demonstrate innovative decision systems, approaches, technologies and practical measures to improve climate-resilience. For example:
- Minimising evaporation rates of water storage facilities: The climate of the atolls restricts the quality and quantity of freshwater supply in RMI. While sources of water vary around the country, 70% of RMI’s residents depend on rainwater as their primary source for drinking water. Addressing high evaporation rates of stored water is key to maintaining adequate supply. Efforts are under way to provide a membrane cover to stop leakage and increase storage capacity on holding tanks. There are a total of 7 holding tanks with a combined capacity of 36.4 million gallons. Each holding tank has a capacity of 5 million gallons, except for holding tank #7 (with 8 million gallons) and holding tank #3 (with 3.4 million gallons of treated water). Most of these tanks are currently leaking due to torn membranes. PACC RMI will replace the cover for holding tank #3 and will install membranes for tanks #1, 2 & 4.
- Development of alternative water sources: Creating water source alternatives to reduce usage from the primary water source will also support drought resilience and food security. PACC RMI is supporting the development of additional water sources based on reverse osmosis and alternative energy sources. The capture and storage of rain and groundwater resources (both individual household and community storage capacities) is one means of alternative water sourcing. For example, use of solar water pumps for efficiency and to pump out water with auto switch will be installed. The project will also provide water tanks to the Laura community to help reduce dependency on underground water. Efforts will include building 100,000 gallon steel or panel tanks and/or the creation of a 2nd reservoir at Laura.
- Knowledge and information on water conservation and climate change: Demonstrating the correct usage of water for agriculture during a drought will also help residents adapt to the effects of climate change. PACC RMI is providing a better understanding of both water conservation and the various vulnerabilities and risks that climate change can cause for Majuro. Supporting the exchange of information to detect early warning signs, disaster risk reduction, and disaster response, provides RMI residents with knowledge to better adapt to climate-related threats. In addition, with the construction of a new water source by the Majuro Water and Sanitation Corporation, PACC RMI outcomes will help inform future government initiatives.
Key Results and Outputs
The first of the PACC outcomes is devoted to mainstreaming. The PACC approach to mainstreaming has a dual purpose: 1) to strengthen the ability of institutional frameworks, policies and plans to take climate change risks into consideration and 2) to improve the capacity of key national government and community decision-makers to integrate adaptation measures in key decisions.
The second PACC outcome is to design and demonstrate innovative decision systems, approaches, technologies and practical measures to improve climate-resilience.
The third outcome, Technical Support and Communication, is to ensure that results and lessons from the PACC project are shared regionally and globally. The goal is also to bring together new knowledge generated through the project as the basis for a strategic regional approach to climate change adaptation among Pacific Island Countries and Territories.
- National adaptive capacity developed
- Community vulnerability to climate change reduced
- Technical assistance & Regional Cooperation
- 1.1 Technical capacity of key decision makers developed
- 1.2 Institutional coordination mechanisms established
- 1.3 Tools to assess economic costs of adaptation developed and utilized
- 1.4 Legislative and policy directives prepared and adopted