Tag Archives: Buota Water Reserve

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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The vandalised transformer in August, 2012, before the new parts arrived.

Tarawa water reserve back online

Press release, Tarawa, January 3, 2012

South Tarawa’s ground water supply has increased by approximately 20 per cent thanks to a joint operation between the Public Utilities Board (PUB) and the Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII).

The Buota Water Reserve was successfully re-opened recently after more than one year of inactivity due to a loss of power and vandalism to the site.

PUB Chief Executive Officer Kevin Rouatu said the connection was first severed when the Tanaea Bridge collapsed in June 2008.

“In September 2009, the United States Navy installed a new bridge across the Buota-Tanaea channel and the Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase II re-laid new pipes for the water connection in 2010,” Mr Rouatu said.

During the time the water reserve was offline, Mr Rouatu said much of the pumping infrastructure was vandalised making it necessary to replace and rehabilitate all of the pumping chambers as well as relaying the pipes.

“The vandalism stopped the power to the site, which meant the six water pumps at the reserve could not be used to extract water,” he said.

“To restore the power, KAPIII funded a transformer and T-switch, which arrived by ship in late July.

“Now four of the six pumps are in working order and the Bouta site can supplement the water we get from the reserve at Bonriki.”

The water reserves at Bonriki and Buota are the only water reserves providing groundwater to South Tarawa, KAPIII Project Manager Kautuna Kaitara said.

“The Buota Water Reserve has the capacity to provide about 300 cubic metres of water per day, the equivalent to 1500 200l ‘te turam’,” Mr Kaitara said.

South Tarawa’s other water reserve at Bonriki provides 1600 cubic metres per day.

“As Buota is the second main source of ground water for the people of South Tarawa we want to work well with the people of Buota to ensure its’ ongoing success.

“Bonriki has been over-pumped and now we can reduce the extraction rate to prevent damage to the water lenses and equipment.

“If we lose the water reserves at Bonriki and Buota, we lose the only reasonably safe drinking water for the people of Betio and South Tarawa.

“So protection of these water reserves is critical for the liveability of Betio and South Tarawa and the health of all that live here.

“This includes minimising pollution, animals, agriculture and sand mining in the area to ensure the water remains healthy enough for human consumption.”

Australian High Commission First Secretary Lydia Bezeruk said Australia was proud to be co-financing KAPIII and supporting the repair of the Buota Water Reserve.

“It’s important that we understand that water is a precious commodity, in South Tarawa in particular,” Ms Bezeruk said.

“Most of the water reserves have been polluted and are beyond repair, which is why maintaining the effective functioning of reserves such as Buota and Bonriki is critical.”

Facts about KAPIII

The Kiribati Adaptation Program- Phase III (KAPIII) is a five-year project under the Office of the President and 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.

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 from 2012 to 2016 include working closely with the MPWU and PUB to manage assets and provide training to staff, the installation of four new rainwater harvesting works and two infiltration gallery works in North and South Tarawa, the detection and repair of leaks in the groundwater pipe system from Buota to Betio and the rehabilitation of the Buota Water Reserve.