Providing clean drinking water for Nauruans

from Australian Agency for International Development
Published on 28 Mar 2013 View Original

Improving access to clean water is a key focus of Australia’s aid program to Nauru. Over the past two years, AusAID has provided $1 million to construct 200 household water tanks that will help families store desalinated water and capture rainwater. This means more reliable access to drinking water for Nauruans.

Nauru is one of the smallest nations in the world. To complete a marathon, you would have to run around the entire country more than twice. This small space means capturing enough water for Nauru’s population is a challenge.

Drinking water has been a continuous problem for Nauruans. The country often experiences long periods of drought and the limited fresh water supplies have been subject to high levels of biological and industrial pollution for many years.

During the drought of 1998–2000, Nauru’s desalination plant went out of service, severely limiting water supplies. People were forced to rely on ground water, which in 2010 was found to be highly contaminated.

AusAID has been helping to develop Nauru’s water supply for nearly a decade. During this time, we have provided desalination units for the country as well as resources to ensure their ongoing management.

Currently, Australia’s aid program is funding the construction of a new desalination plant shed to make sure the units are properly maintained. We are also providing a Water Operations Manager within the national water supplier. These efforts are helping to ensure Nauruans have easy access to clean drinking water year-round.

With Australian assistance, Nauru has more than doubled its fresh water production capacity since 2005. Prior to 2003, Nauru’s desalination equipment was producing enough water for only 30 per cent of the community. With Australian assistance, that figure is now at 80 per cent.

AusAID is actively working with the Government of Nauru and the community to ensure that access to clean water continues to increase.