Category Archives: Water

MPWU presents during the Consultation Workshop to Buota and Bonriki villagers

Governance Roadmap on Water Reserves first workshop, complete

MPWU presents during the Consultation Workshop to Buota and Bonriki villagers

MPWU presents during the Consultation Workshop to Buota and Bonriki villagers

The urgent need to protect and manage effectively the Water Reserves at Buota and Bonriki is recognized by the Kiribati Government in the National Water Resources Implementation Plan, the Tarawa Water and Sanitation Road Map 2011-2030 and the Kiribati Development Plan 2012 – 2015.

The critical state of the water reserves is likely to get more serious in the future as a result of the impacts of climate change on future rainfall / drought patterns, together with the population growth.

Because the preservation of the water reserves in peri-urban Buota and Bonriki is critical to the long term health and economic growth of South Tarawa, the Cabinet approved the establishment of an inter-Ministerial Water Reserves Task Force, chaired by MELAD.

The purpose of the Task Force is to:

1. Move all unauthorized dwellings located within the boundary of the water reserves and end harmful practices (such as sand mining) on the Buota and Bonriki Reserves; and

2. Develop and implement a long term sustainable management plan for the two reserves.

The Task Force has now developed the first draft of its approach to these two tasks which are described as a “Governance Roadmap”, and presented this approach to all stakeholders during its first workshop on 28-29 October 2014 to consider the draft proposals.

There will be a second workshop in about four months to consider the final draft proposals and a third workshop four months or so after that – in the middle of 2015 – to consider the final proposals. Over the next 8 months consultations will take place, involving all stakeholders, coming together at the workshops to seek agreement and build consensus about the way forward – for the protection and conservation of the two water reserves that are so important to the lives of so many of the people of South Tarawa and of Kiribati.

The process will take place within the framework of government policy, the laws of Kiribati and the World Bank’s Operational Policy on involuntary resettlement.

Implementation of an Immediate Actions Plan to address the first purpose of the Task Force and a Sustainable Management Plan to address the second, will only start after there is full and open consultation with all stakeholders and agreement about what is to be done.

This agreement will be made into a formal written document with representatives of all key stakeholders participating. It is hoped this can be achieved by the middle of next year and both plans can then be implemented.

The first step is to start a process of community engagement. This will mean that, after this workshop: a) consultations start and continue on a regular basis with all communities involved; b) a communication, education and awareness plan is started; and c) a census and survey of the unauthorised residents on the two water reserves and a survey of Buota and Bonriki village residents is carried out. The surveys are necessary to draw up the first draft of a Resettlement Plan for the water reserves, and a Process Framework for the two village communities, for presentation at the next workshop.

The main stakeholders are the communities of Buota and Bonriki villages, the residents of South Tarawa, the unauthorized residents on the two water reserves, the Urban and Island Councils and their planning Boards, the administrative arms of government in a number of Ministries and agencies – MELAD, MPWU, MoHMS and PUB, the executive arm of government – Cabinet – and the Kiribati Adaptation Program III and Office of the Beretitenti under whose management and direction the process falls.

The process of consultation to reach agreement between all these many parties may be difficult and involve hard decisions but the achievement of the end result – clean and safe water – is very important to the people of South Tarawa and of Kiribati. All stakeholders will need to participate openly and constructively to reach an outcome that is fair to all and recognizes and meets the needs of all, as far as this is possible in meeting the overall goal – clean and safe water for South Tarawa.

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Kiribati people depend on potable well water, this supply has been affected by climate change

Kiribati to Celebrate World Water Day

Kiribati people depend on potable well water, this supply has been affected by climate change

Kiribati people depend on potable well water, this supply has been affected by climate change

Kiribati will be celebrating World Water Day on 24 March 2014 at the Bairiki Square in Kiribati’s capital, Tarawa, focusing on this year’s Kiribati theme ‘Water and Climate Change’.

People in Kiribati depend on potable ground water in wells and from rainwater, but this supply of water has been directly affected by climate change.

The ground water supply in South Tarawa is dependent on the size of the land area and as this diminishes as a result of rising sea levels and coastal erosion, so does the size of the water lens. This situation applies to all of the other islands of Kiribati.

Public Utilities Board (PUB), CEO, Kevin Rouatu said, Kiribati is like a floating ship with limited fresh water from its water lens, and despite the heavy rainfall that Kiribati has been blessed with in the past months, our water lens can only hold just a small percentage of the total rainfall.

“South Tarawa depends largely on the reservoirs in Buota and Bonriki so it is very vital for people to save the water they get from the main water system and not waste it”. Said Kevin Rouatu.

“KAPIII’s objective is to increase the resilience of Kiribati to the impacts of climate change on freshwater supply and coastal protection as a priority by the government of Kiribati”. Said Kautuna Kaitara, Program Manager for KAPIII.

“Our aim is to improve the water reticulation system on South Tarawa through leakage detection and repairs, to increase rainwater harvesting and to build abstraction galleries”, he said.

With regards to sustaining the Buota and Bonriki water reserves, Mr Kaitara said, KAPIII will be assisting in supporting the Government of Kiribati Water Committee by ensuring governance and sustainability of the systems in Bonriki and Buota villages.

“If water in this area is contaminated there will be no drinkable water to the 40 thousand plus population on South Tarawa and it will be catastrophic and costly for the people of South Tarawa compared to the  cost from a tsunami disaster”. Mr Kaitara said.

The Kiribati government through the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities, the Ministry of Health the Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) Public Utilities Board, SMEC and GCCA have joined efforts to make the most of this year’s World Water Day celebrations.

Also read: Reducing leakage in Tarawa, World Water Day 2013, Why Tarawa needs water reserves
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Bikenibeu West students show off their water tower in the background

PUB water reticulation site survey, complete

Press ReleaseExisting chamber in Tabaonga infront of Maere Tekanene's residence

Kiribati Adaptation Program (KAPIII) completes a survey for flow meter and air release chamber locations, an upgrade to South Tarawa Water Network. Chambers will be constructed from Tanaea to Betio to improve the PUB reticulation system to manage the water leakage problem on South Tarawa. Leakage detection and repair is one of KAPIII’s main objectives under Component 1 which is to improve water resource use and management through reduced leakage and wastage in existing systems.

Bairiki, Tarawa 25 September, 2013— KIRIBATI Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) together with the Lands Management Division and Public Utilities Board (PUB) completed a site survey to ensure each valve meter, air release valve and other small valve meter chambers are built on their proper sites, as part of the leak reduction in the PUB water supply network in South Tarawa under which, is supported by KAPIII.

The survey took place from Tanaea to Betio identifying all locations for the valve and flow meter chambers at which points the flow can be controlled and measured, together with 13 locations for new air release valve chambers, which will help PUB detect where the leaks are coming from. The chambers would run adjacent to the road for future maintenance purposes particularly for future leak detection and will also be moved away from areas of shoreline erosion, where it is vulnerable to being broken.

“Reducing leakage in the Tarawa reticulation system is a key priority for the Government of Kiribati.” KAPIII Program Manager, Kautuna Kaitara said.

“Under KAPIII, a key objective is to reduce leakage and unaccounted water in the PUB network, and to introduce improved, practical asset management practices within PUB to maintain and operate the water network system better.” He added.

“Leak detection and rehabilitation of the system through this activity will provide support to PUB’s key outputs of supplying water to its customers based on the quantity and quality recognized standards.” Public Utilities Board (PUB), CEO,Kevin Rouatu said.

Based on a report by PUB, leakage in the system is stated to be around 67% and the quality of the water provided by the public water supply system has decreased over the past years and in 2010 more than 50% of the samples taken by MHMS showed bacteriological loading and did not meet basic WHO standards.

The survey undertaken by the team is part of the World Bank requirement under the Abbreviated Resettlement Action Plan Policy (ARAP), also the World Bank’s safeguard policy. The team also followed guidelines from the Kiribati Government under the Land Acquisition Resettlement Action Framework (LARAF) ensuring that the installation of these flow meters and air release valves will not impact people’s livelihoods in any way and if so, negotiations will be made with land owners.

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New Zealand Army Staff Sgt. Nick Bunker collects a water sample during a Pacific Partnership 2013 water quality assessment. Photo:  2nd Class Tim D Godbee, US Navy.

More water tests for Tarawa

New Zealand Army Staff Sgt. Nick Bunker collects a water sample during a Pacific Partnership 2013 water quality assessment. Photo:  2nd Class Tim D Godbee, US Navy.

New Zealand Army Staff Sgt. Nick Bunker collects a water sample during a Pacific Partnership 2013 water quality assessment. Photo: 2nd Class Tim D Godbee, US Navy.

Have you wondered why there are so many foreign soldiers and other imatangs on South Tarawa this week?

That’s because Pacific Partnership 2013 are here on another disaster response preparedness mission.

Freshwater is a precious resource in Kiribati. Read more: KAPIII
How does climate change affect our freshwater supply?

Part of the mission includes the testing the quality of water from a number of rainwater catchment systems by environmental health specialists from the New Zealand Army.

The systems are being assessed for prospective maintenance projects for future engineering projects, and to make suggestions to the people of Tarawa about what each systems water would be best used for New Zealand Army Staff Sgt. Nick Bunker said.

Ruateki Taato, a manager of one of the catchment systems tested, said that the water provided by the catchment systems was crucial to the communities well being and many people’s only source of water. He himself uses the water every day.

“Testing the quality is important to the people of my community because water is a large part of our health,” said Taato. “Without clean water we can’t be healthy.”

The catchment systems were donated by the New Zealand Agency for International Development in 2012, but must be maintained in order to operate properly and provide clean water.

“We are providing infrastructure to the people of Tarawa, but it’s also important that we ensure that they can maintain it by providing them with tools and knowledge,”Bunker said.

“There is a lot of equipment to these systems, but instructions on how to maintain them are not always clear. We’re trying to ensure that the aid that is being given here has a legacy.”

Conducted annually since 2006, Pacific Partnership is the largest disaster response-preparedness mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Working at the invitation of each host nation, Pacific Partnership is joined by partner nations that include Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Malaysia Singapore, South Korea and New Zealand.

His Excellency Anote Tong takes the stage in front before the other panelists, and the nation.

Wet weather fails to dampen public hearing spirits

Morning rain did not dampen the mood at Kiribati’s first-ever National High-Level Public Hearing on Climate Change on Friday, where leaders addressed the nation on the importance of everyone working together to build national resilience against climate change impacts.

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Official page of the National High-Level Public Hearing on Climate Change

Thankfully, despite the heavy rain overnight, the skies opened up to permit a late start to the event at Bairiki Square, which coincidentally or not translates from i-Kiribati to English as the “place where things happen”.

President Anote Tong addressed the nation at the National High-Level Public Hearing on Climate Change at Bairiki Square.

President Anote Tong addressed the nation at the National High-Level Public Hearing on Climate Change at Bairiki Square on Friday 19 April, 2013.

His Excellency Anote Tong was the first of 10 panelists to take the stage to address the crowded public square where he reiterated the importance of building both consensus and public understanding of climate change and climate change impacts in Kiribati.

“We must prepare the next generation to address the effects of climate change,” His Excellency said*.

These words were more dramatically reiterated in a moving youth performance by Kiribati Health and Family Association (KHFA) at half-time, where, in the skit, a young girl in tears asks her dad “Dad, what will happen to me and my Kiribati in 50 years time?*”

Next, second panel member Kiribati National Council of Churches Chairman Bishop Paul Mea took the stage.

Bishop Mea told the public, both in attendance and aired live across the country, that climate change was a social issue.

His Excellency Anote Tong takes the stage in front before the other panelists, and the nation.

His Excellency Anote Tong takes the stage in front of other panelists and before the nation.

Human interference continued to contribute to the impacts of climate change, Bishop Mea continued, citing Tarawa causeways Nanikai and Teaoraereke as well as the Dai Nippon contributing to the loss of some of the nation’s islets.

Leader of the Opposition Party (Karikirakean te I-Kiribati Party) Dr Tetaua Taitai next acknowledged climate change as a serious issue, but one that should not be the main priority for Kiribati. Instead the more immediate issues of population growth, overcrowding, water and food security, unemployment, education and health should be first addressed, he said.

He added, where climate change was a focus, more attention was needed to how the nation utilised its own resources with that of external resources and that it was necessary for experts to have a sole focus in the context of Kiribati instead of generalising the nation with the rest of the world.

The public raised questions to the panel in person and via telephone and Facebook throughout the day.

*Please note: quotes have been translated from i-Kiribati to English

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Sunset in Tarawa.

Government and SPC talk joint strategies

The Government of Kiribati and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) have been working hard to develop a new joint country strategy (JCS) between SPC and the Government of Kiribati.

JCSs are multi-year plans that align the priorities of SPC member countries with the services that SPC can provide. The new plan will focus on a strategy for 2013 to 2015.

Discussions on the strategy, which took place early April 2013 on Tarawa, involved identifying the country’s key development priorities and matching these with the expertise SPC can provide in sectors ranging from fisheries to statistics.

The mission follows a review of the first JCS (2008–2011) carried out in October 2012, which found that SPC in close collaboration with the Government of Kiribati had effectively implemented activities and services in line with Kiribati’s development priorities.

David Teaabo, Pacific Plan Desk Officer with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, commented that the JCS approach is very much a joint approach and relies on full engagement by the government.

According to Mr Teaabo, the collaborative approach promoted by the JCS makes it possible to improve coordination and collaboration efforts at national level to enable Kiribati to pursue its development priorities.

The mission team was led by Mike Batty, (Director of SPC’s Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division) and included representatives of SPC’s Strategic Engagement, Policy and Planning Facility as well as its Statistics for Development Division. The SPC team’s Kiribati counterparts included Mr Teaabo as well as representatives of the National Economic Planning Office.

Mr Batty said that cooperation between the government and SPC had been excellent, which was a testimony to the commitment by both parties to ensuring that Kiribati’s development priorities are translated into concrete actions.

The signing of the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project contract between Ministry of Public Works and Utilities secretary Eita Metai and McConnell Dowell construction manager Rory Bishop. Photo: KAPIII

No potholes in road contract signing

South Tarawa’s long-awaited new road is one step closer after the Government of Kiribati and New Zealand-based construction company McConnell Dowell signed the official contract recently.

Ministry of Public Works and Utilities secretary Eita Metai and McConnell Dowell construction manager Rory Bishop signed the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project contract in front of a small gathering in Betio, Kiribati on on Wednesday 27 April, 2013.

The signing of the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project contract between Ministry of Public Works and Utilities secretary Eita Metai and McConnell Dowell construction manager Rory Bishop. Photo: KAPIII

The signing of the Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project contract between Ministry of Public Works and Utilities secretary Eita Metai and McConnell Dowell construction manager Rory Bishop. Photo: KAPIII

Guests were entertained by local dancers and served dinner as part of the signing celebrations.

The Road Rehabilition Project for Kiribati is a $AU38 million project that aims to improve the condition of South Tarawa and Betio’s main road network as well as help strengthen road finance and maintenance capacity.

Roads Project Contract Signing

Local dancers entertain guests after the official signing of the roads project contract. Photo: KAPIII

The three main components of the project are:

1. Infrastructure improvements: main civil works activities to be undertaken on South Tarawa road infrastructure, including the reconstruction and rehabilitation of paved roads on South Tarawa and the rehabilitation of Betio causeway

2. Road sector reform: keep activities to strengthen the road section and lead to more sustainable road infrastructure in South Tarawa

3. Project support: establishing of a project management unit, project associated incremental operation costs, a valuation specialists to identify the appropriate compensation rates for trees and other assets affected by the project, and audit of the project accounts

The Kiribati Road Rehabilitation Project is being implements by the Government of Kiribati with the assistance and funding support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB) and AusAID.

Construction work is expected to begin mid-2013.

Related news…

Australia to give $15 million for road

For more information on the project, please visit the ADBWB and AusAID website pages dedicated to the project.

World Water Day 2013 will be celebrated in Kiribati on  Monday 25 March at Bairiki Square

Celebrate World Water Day with a splash

Our limited freshwater supply is essential to life as well as the human and economic development of Kiribati.

To recognise the importance of freshwater supply in Kiribati, the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities (MPWU) together with Environment and Conservation Division (ECD), Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) and the country’s leading water and sanitation projects would like to invite you and your family to celebrate World Water Day 2013 with us on Monday 25 March at Bairiki Square.

World Water Day 2013 will be celebrated in Kiribati on  Monday 25 March at Bairiki Square

World Water Day 2013 will be celebrated in Kiribati on Monday 25 March at Bairiki Square

World Water Day is a United Nations initiative held annually around the world to highlight the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

This year’s theme is ‘Water Cooperation’, which recognizes the need for cooperation to manage groundwater and rainwater resources, information exchange and financial and technical cooperation in Kiribati.

In the spirit of water cooperation, the South Tarawa Sanitation Improvement Sector Project (STSISP), Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) and Water and Sanitation project in the Outer Islands of the Republic of Kiribati Phase I (KIRIWATSAN I) are proud to be sponsoring and participating in the MPWU’s event to showcase how different bodies and government departments are working together and with the public to help with the country’s freshwater supply.

Gathering freshwater from a well in Kiribati.

Gathering freshwater from a well in Kiribati.

The projects will provide demonstrations (such as how to fix a leaking tap), a ‘water-theme’ quiz with prizes, kid’s games (have you heard of ‘eels and ladders’?) and general information about their projects at the event. Taken Bairiki and Rurubao schools will also wow crowds with local performances about water.

MPWU Water Unit acting officer in charge Moiua Aroito said World Water Day was an opportunity to recognise the importance of working together to ensure a freshwater supply Kiribati’s future.

“Demands for water are increasing to satisfy the needs of South Tarawa and Betio’s growing population.

“Water resources are also being threatened by other factors such as urbanisation, pollution and climate change,” he said.

“Water cooperation is our key to succeeding in the future to manage our limited water resources and ensure that everyone benefits so please show your support and come participate in our event.”

World Water Day runs from 11.30am to 2pm on Monday 25 March at Bairiki Square.

About the projects

KAPIII

The Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) is a five-year climate change adaptation project under the Office of the President. The objective of KAPIII is to improve the resilience of Kiribati to the impacts of climate change on freshwater supply and coastal infrastructure.

Freshwater supply projects include providing support to the MPWU and PUB; the installation of rainwater harvesting works and infiltration gallery works in North and South Tarawa; and the detection and repair of leaks in the PUB’s pipe system from Buota to Betio.

KAPIII is funded via the World Bank GEF LDCF Trust Fund with co-financing from the governments of Australia and Japan, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery partnership, as well as in-kind from the Government of Kiribati.

KIRIWATSAN I

The Water and Sanitation project in the Outer Islands of the Republic of Kiribati Phase I (KIRIWATSAN I) is funded by EU, implemented by the Ministry of Public Works and Utilities with technical assistance from UNICEF.

It involves 70 communities in the 16 Gilbert Islands. The project aims to empower people by engaging them to achieve better access to safe drinking water, adequate and socially acceptable sanitation facilities, combined with an effective education/awareness raising campaign to improve their understanding of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) issues and to encourage behavioural changes, especially starting with children, as agents of change.

STSISP

The South Tarawa Sanitation Improvement Program (STSISP) aims to improve the health of communities on South Tarawa by rehabilitating and upgrading existing sanitation infrastructure. STSISP will improve access to sanitation services from 64 per cent of South Tarawa’s population in 2010 to 80 per cent by 2018. 

Rehabilitation of current infrastructure will limit contamination of groundwater reserves, which are currently polluted by pit latrines and poorly managed septic tanks.

 The Asian Development Bank is the lead agency on this program.

Part of the main road on South Tarawa.

Australia to give $15 million for road

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr with His Excellency Anote Tong during his visit to Kiribati. Photo: Rimon/OB

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr with His Excellency Anote Tong during his visit to Kiribati. Photo: Rimon/OB

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has announced Australia will provide $15 million to rehabilitate 40 kilometres of main road in South Tarawa, Kiribati, which has been undermined by rising sea levels and coastal erosion.

Speaking from Kiribati, Senator Carr said the works were essential if the nation was to survive the impact of climate change.

“Kiribati is at the front line of climate change,” Senator Carr said.

“Its highest point is now just three metres above sea level.

“Unless action is taken, Kiribati will be uninhabitable by 2030 as a result of coastal erosion, sea level rise and saltwater intrusion into drinking water.

“This project will provide more than 40 per cent of the population with better access to health clinics, schools and markets.

“Coastal roads will be rehabilitated to withstand rising sea levels and storm surges caused by climate change.

“We’ll also support the Kiribati Adaptation Program to replace 11 kilometres of damaged water mains and increase access to safe drinking water.

“I’m proud we can assist in rebuilding local roads and protecting basic Kiribati infrastructure from the devastating effects of human-induced climate change.”

Australia’s funding would be delivered over three years (2013-2015) in partnership with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

Senator Carr will also join Kiribati President Anote Tong to present a statement to the UN Security Council on the need for climate change action to reduce the risk of future conflicts over scarce resources.