Landowners in Nooto and Tabonibara villages of Rural Tarawa have willingly signed off an agreement for the voluntary use of their lands for water infiltration galleries, thanks to an extensive and exhaustive KAPIII community consultation undertaking.
The signing was witnessed by the Australian High Commissioner to Kiribati HE. Mr. George Fraser, Kiribati’s Finance Minister Hon.Tom Murduch and the Minister for Commerce Hon. Pinto Katia.
A total of 7 landowners for Tabonibara and 11 for Nooto signed the agreement to declare their land for infiltration galleries which will be a reserve area for water, where no housing, graves or bwabwai pits will be found.
To safeguard the endangered fresh water from the effects of climate change and as part of an adaptation measure KAPIII will be funding the two infiltration galleries, which will provide the people of Nooto and Tabonibara villages with fresh clean water to drink from in relation to climate change and salt water intrusion.
Acknowledging the generosity made by the landowners, The Australian High Commissioner to Kiribati in his speech said. “Your permission to use this land for the galleries will be a key legacy from you to future generations, and one that will help improve your own livelihoods, those of your family, friends and community.”
“Australia, as a development partner, recognizes the importance of assisting your government to improve sustainable access to freshwater, and so we are pleased to support the third phase of the Kiribati Adaptation Project which aims to improve resilience to the impacts of climate change on fresh water supply.” He added.
“The signing that we have seen today signifies a major landmark in the progressive development of the project. It gives us a strong feeling that the project will surely be accomplished in the not distant future.” North Tarawa Mayor, Harry Tekaiti.
The Minister of Finance, Tom Murdoch on behalf of the Government of Kiribati thanked the land owners and called on the people of Tabonibara to safeguard the infiltration galleries not just for today but for their future generations.
An Infiltration gallery at the Taborio School in North Tarawa was erected during KAPII and its success has trickled the allocation of AUD$372,000 out of the $10.8 million project for the two infiltration galleries in Nooto and in Tabonibara, under KAPIII.