Implementing Sustainable Water Resources and Wastewater

Project Summary

The project is consistent with the GEF IV strategic objective for International Waters: ‘to play a catalytic role in addressing transboundary water concerns by assisting countries to utilize the full range of technical assistance, economic, financial, regulatory and institutional reforms that are needed’, through supporting and building on existing political commitments and through promoting sustainable water use and improved water management now, making it easier to address the challenges of the future as climatic variability affects water resources further. More specifically the project will deliver outcomes under GEF IV Strategic Programme III (SP-3) through working with communities to address their needs for safe drinking water and other socio-economic benefits of sustainable and safe water resources, including balancing environmental requirements with livelihood needs. The project will deliver across a range of MDG targets using IWRM approaches (MDG 7) as the wider development entry point, and will help countries utilize the full range of technical, economic, financial, regulatory, and institutional measures needed to operationalise sustainable development strategies for waters and their drainage basins (both surface and ground water).

The project consists of four components. Component C1 will use country-driven and designed demonstration activities focusing on sustainable water management to utilize Ridge to Reef IWRM approaches to bring significant environmental stress reduction benefits. Demonstration projects will act as catalysts for replication and scaling-up approaches to improve national water resources management, and regionally to support the Pacific in reducing land based pollutants from entering the ocean. Component C2 will develop an IWRM and WUE Regional Indicator Framework based on improved data collection and indicator feedback and action for improved national and regional sustainable development using water as an entry point. Component C3 will focus on Policy, Legislative, and Institutional Reform for IWRM and WUE through supporting institutional change and re-alignment to enact National IWRM Plans and WUE strategies, including appropriate financing mechanisms and supporting and building further political will to endorse IWRM policies and plans to accelerate and support pre-existing SAP and other Pacific Regional Action Plan work. Component C4 provides a Regional Capacity Building and Sustainability Programme for IWRM and WUE, including Knowledge Exchange and Learning and Replication.

The duration of the project will be five years and will be supported by a number of other regional projects and programs as co-financers totalling over $80m.

What have we accomplished so far

Watershed Management

  • Fiji: The Nadi River has been subjected to severe flooding over the past few years, resulting in significant damage. By developing and implementing a catchment management plan to address some of the causes of flooding (e.g. inappropriate land use or tree clearance) and by installing river and rainfall gauges, the project is providing direct protection for the communities affected, including a degree of early warning from the gauges. The project has had a wide stakeholder involvement leading to, for example, farmers growing seedling trees for later sale to the forestry authorities for planting to protect water courses, increasing awareness through schools and libraries on the importance of catchment management and involving the private sector (e.g. mobile phone operators to provide free sms alerts to possible flood conditions and beginning the process of engaging the tourism sector). The success of the system in warning the inhabitants of Nadi to floods in January 2012 was emphasised to the MTR by the Commissioner Western (Government officer in charge of the district) with a wish to see the system expanded and replicated to adjacent river basins. Funding for this expansion was being sought.
  • Republic of the Marshall Islands: Through strong local stakeholder involvement and communications a good understanding of the value and importance of environmental protection of the Laura Lens has been achieved. Initially the expectations of the stakeholders with respect to the project had been different and managing these expectations was a key activity in bringing local support to the planned work. Local farmers and inhabitants (through an IWRM Advisory Committee, involving community representatives, NGOs and official representation) are now reported to be very supportive (and meetings with representatives during the MTR mission confirmed this support) of the actions planned (including the provision of composting toilets, portable pig-pens, development of an information/education centre etc.).
  • Samoa: With government support for the development of catchment management plans and good involvement of community stakeholders, preliminary changes in attitude to protect a critical catchment in Apai have been seen: from the introduction of signs to dissuade people from cleaning vehicles in rivers to imposing restrictions in buffer-strips along steep sections of the river, although from observations during the MTR mission, there is a need for authorities to further enforce the buffer strip restrictions preventing land being developed for housing etc.. The government has purchased (additional to planned co-finance) 3,000 acres from a church to plant trees to further protect steep terrain adjacent to rivers (reducing soil loss). The approaches adopted (and corresponding changes in attitude of stakeholders to catchment management as a tool to reduce flooding and coastal pollution) has encouraged the government to express a wish to extend the approach to both Savaii and Upolu Islands of Samoa.

Wastewater and Sanitation Management

  • Septic waste management upgraded for Neiafu community, Tonga.
  • Installation of composting toilets commenced in Tuvalu.
  • Planning of wastewater management strategies ongoing in Laura lens, Niue and Samoa.
  • Source protection in the form of septic management system (including a pump out truck and appropriate disposal sites) established in Tonga.

Developing national IWRM policies and water efficiency strategies

  • Implemented Water Safety Plans for three villages adopted in Niue.
  • Solomon Islands – development of programme of technical assistance to undertake a Sector Review.
  • Fiji – Technical Assistance developed to assist the Nadi Basin Catchment Committee undertake an IWRM Governance Review.
  • Tonga – Technical Assistance to assist with the development of a Plan and Procedures for the Implementation of Proposed Water Legislation.
  • Tuvalu – Technical Assistance to assist in the development of a National Water Policy in collaboration with Policy work undertaken by Disaster Risk Reduction and the PACC project.
  • Finalisation and support to the approval of the National Sanitation Policy and Implementation Plan completed in Kiribati.
  • Finalisation of the Water Allocation Policy and Implementation Plan of Samoa.
  • Development of a National Water and Sanitation Policy Framework and Implementation Plan for the Republic of Nauru.
  • Continued assistance to developing an IWRM Plan for Niue.
  • An analysis and strengthening of the National Consultation Structures for Water and Sanitation in Vanuatu.
  • Communications Strategies drafted for FSM, Palau and RMI.
  • Reviewing the Water Policies in Fiji and supporting the redefining of a more coherent policy using existing literature.
  • Supporting National Water Committees in Niue, FSM, Palau, RMI and Tonga.
  • Further support of national consultations through the recruitment of Policy officers in the Cook Islands, Palau, FSM and RMI.
  • Initiation and implementation of the North Pacific Initiative to assist FSM, Palau and RMI in their IWRM self analysis as well as their road map of response.
  • Initiation of work to strengthen regional engagement in water and sanitation.

Water Use Efficiency and Capacity Development

  • Review of previous water leakage studies underway in Solomon Islands.
  • Postgraduate Certificate course on IWRM is being accredited by the International Water Centre and a consortium of four leading Australian Universities, currently involving 15 national participants (seven men and eight women) enrolled. Selection was by a ‘competitive’ process including national demonstration project staff, government staff and other stakeholders. Primarily this is delivered through distance learning methods which have been supplemented by two residential week-long courses (Palau and Cook Islands in 2011).
  • Twinning between national demonstration projects (including, Samoa and Cook Islands, Tuvalu and Tonga, FSM and Vanuatu).
  • Inter-regional exchanges between the Caribbean (UNEP/UNDP/GEF IWCAM project) and the Pacific IWRM.
  • Assisting with sub-regional co-operation (e.g. contribution to the establishment of the Micronesian Water and Sanitation Committee as part of the Micronesian Chief Executive Summit political forum and similar foundational work with the Melanesian Spearhead Group with the Creation of the Water, Sanitation and Climate Subcommittee.
  • Specific training was given to all PICs in:
    • Gender mainstreaming (a pilot in-country gender mainstreaming training session was also held in Tuvalu).
    • Financial management and reporting
    • Results oriented participatory planning,
    • Monitoring and reporting.

Who Finances it?

Global Environment Facility (GEF) and Government of beneficiary Pacific Island countries
Total Budget: US$6,727,891


Project Delivery US$

2009 $405,669
2010 $1,518,985
2011 $2,039,619
2012 $1,832,744
2013 $127,893
Project Overview
Project ID
Project Start Date
Estimated End Date
Geographic Coverage
Pacific region
Focus Area
Environment and Energy
Project Officer
Floyd Robinson
Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) Division, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
Related Document
Project Document
Pacific IWRM Programme

Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) Division, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)