Tag Archives: Water

Evire Banririe, PUB Water Reticulation Secnior Technician, checks the Water Air Release Valve

Water leak detection works underway

Evire Banririe, PUB Water Reticulation Secnior Technician, checks the Water Air Release Valve

Evire Banririe, PUB Water Reticulation Secnior Technician, checks the Water Air Release Valve

Leak detection works is being carried out on South Tarawa’s main water reticulation system using a sound detection device. The work is being carried out by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) and Posch and Partners Consulting Engineers (P&P) through the Kiribati Adaptation Program – Phase III (KAPIII) The leak detection works is being carried out by Mr Robert Skerjanz from P&P who is a leak detection expert with 28 years’ experience and PUB staff.

Posch & Partners Consulting Engineers (P&P) are based in Austria, Europe. The company is specialized on water, energy and environmental projects and provides consulting services, designs and construction supervision. The main focus is on water supply, wastewater and hydropower projects.

P&P will lead the implementation of leak detection and pipe network repair/minor upgrade activities on the PUB water supply network in Betio and South Tarawa; implement improved public water distribution systems in selected pilot South Tarawa communities and to build the PUB’s capacity in leak detection, repair, and planning/managing programs of leak investigation and leak reduction.

Mr Robert Skerjanz, the Leak Detection Expert with 28 years experience said, “Performing active leak detection on the transmission main, from the water treatment plant to the reservoir in Betio is essential in order to repair leaks before the road is newly surfaced by the KRRP.”

Although it is still premature to provide results, Mr Skerjanz said that after completing the works on the transmission main, activities will be extended to the reticulation system where he expects a lot more leakages.

Mr Skerjanz said that three water meters will be installed in chambers along the 30km transmission line, which will allow PUB in the future to monitor the water consumption section by section. An abnormal consumption with one section will indicate to PUB a leak in the section.

Mr Kautuna Kaitara, Program Manager for KAPIII said that reducing leakage is a key priority for the Government of Kiribati which will address the supply/needs of approximately 50% of national population residing in South Tarawa.

In 2000 a World Bank-funded study estimated that in the absence of adaptation the combined effect of sea level rise, changes in rainfall and higher temperatures could result in a decline of 19-38% in the thickness of the main groundwater lens in Tarawa and inundation of up to 54% of land in some villages in South Tarawa and up to 80% in some villages in North Tarawa by 2050.

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The Tamana Pump. Photo by: Carlo Iocovino

Water supply in Kiribati: Local solution

The Tamana Pump. Photo by: Carlo Iocovino

The Tamana Pump. Photo by: Carlo Iocovino

Press release: SPREP

The atoll of Tamana, in Southern Kiribati, is the origin of a pump design that has helped thousands of communities in the Pacific Island nation.

Now known across Kiribati and internationally as the Tamana Pump, the design is a simple hand powered system that can greatly reduce water contamination by allowing pumping from closed wells.

“It is essential to have a pump rather than use a bucket or a tin container to bring water. This common system of using a container on a string contaminates the well water” said Hon. Waysang Kumkee, Minister for Public Works and Utility (pictured below).

Hon. Waysang Kumkee, Minister for the Ministry of Works and Public Utilities. Photo: Azarel Marina
Hon. Waysang Kumkee, Minister for the Ministry of Works and Public Utilities. Photo: Azarel Marina

 On the remote outer islands of Kiribati, maintenance and spare parts might be many months away when the next supply ship or qualified technician arrives. But the Tamana pump has no electronics or complicated mechanical parts, allowing it to be repaired more easily if a system breaks down. Furthermore, it is a system that is well known enough the many community members are capable of repairing them themselves.

“If we can have 1 water tank to service a small community with a manual pump and try to avoid having an electrical pump, because our problem is maintenance and servicing, no one can actually look after it if it breaks. A manual pump, or gravity feed system, is the best long term solution” said the Hon. Waysang Kumkee.

SPREP has undertaken assessments on Abaiang atoll which included water testing that confirmed superior water quality at sites with Tamana pump systems. There is great potential for improved water supply solutions on the atoll as 92% of households there reported using hand held buckets to obtain water from their wells. Sites will now be indentified  where the new Tamama pumps can be installed.

The Government of Kiribati is leading a ‘whole-of-island’ integrated approach to climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. Abaiang atoll is the first site for this approach.Within the integrated approach, SPREP and the Kiribati Ministry of Public Works and Utilities, with project funding from USAID, are aiming to improve water resources capacity in Abaiang. The project will enable communities on the atoll to manage their water supply and better understand the vulnerabilities they are facing from climate change and non-climate related risks.

Also read: Kiribati celebrates World Water Day
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This sea wall is all that protects these homes in the village of Abarao on the island of Tarawa. Photo: Finn Frandsen, Politiken

Tarawa

This sea wall is all that protects these homes in the village of Abarao on the island of Tarawa Copyright Finn Frandsen Politiken 2

This sea wall is all that protects these homes in the village of Abarao on the island of Tarawa. Photo: Finn Frandsen/Politiken

According to a World Bank report, Kiribati’s capital of Tarawa—where nearly half the population lives—will be 25-54 per cent inundated in the south and 55-80 per cent in the north by mid-century unless there is significant adaptation. Factor in what this means for poisoning of groundwater, destruction of limited arable land and spread of disease, and you have an unlivable national capital.

Kiribati’s response to climate change is focused on adaptation. Its adaptation program, backed in part by AusAID, is carrying out a scientific risk assessment for Tarawa. Kautuna Kaitara, national director of the Kiribati Adaptation Program, says the country’s airstrip will be slowly “eaten away” and water supply spoiled unless there is swift action.

In the meantime, locals are forced to take things into their own hands. Albert Ientau has lived on the water’s edge in Abarao village since 1982. He has continually had to rebuild his sea wall, and more. Mr Ientau is no fool—his re-built house is on makeshift stilts—but the water is lapping at is door before high tide, but as you can see here in this photo series, he often has to roll large boulders into the water in what appears a forlorn exercise to prevent it from returning.

Many villagers have little or no understanding of climate change, but say they know they are witnessing a shift: increasingly intrusive seas, as well as stronger and less predictable winds and more intense heat. “The average i-Kiribati [Kiribati inhabitant] certainly thinks it’s getting hotter,” says Emil Shutz, a former government minister who now runs tours for the country’s few recreational visitors. “Ten years ago they could fish all day, but not any more – it is just too hot.”

There are parts of Kiribati where you can’t see the water, most notably in the southern Tarawa hub of Betio, but the threat of climate change is consistently there. The first thing you see when you land are the sandbags that try, and fail, to stop spring tides from flooding the only airstrip. If you are forced to go to hospital, you may get your feet wet. It is regularly inundated.

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