Solomon Islands

Adapting Towards Resilience: Water and Sanitation is Everybody’s Business

Honiara, Solomon Islands - Water and sanitation is everybody’s business” from “ridge to reef” and “from community to cabinet.”

Under Secretary to the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification Daniel Rove made the statement to open the National Water and Climate Change Forum in Honiara last week.

Under the theme “Adapting towards Resilience: Gud Wata fo strongim Komiuniti lo Evritaem,” the two-day forum brought together water and climate action champions from Solomon Islands’ rural communities, provincial governments, civil society, the private sector, international organizations, development partners and the National Government.

“More communities are facing water shortages due to flooding of streams and rivers, making water supplies unfit for human consumption,” Mr. Rove said.

“Additionally, droughts make communities experience water shortages and women and children have to walk long distances to find water. At times people drink polluted water that may lead to water-borne diseases as diarrhea and dysentery.”

“For atolls and coastal areas of high islands, sea level rise adds more stress to groundwater contamination due to high salinity levels.”

“Given these circumstances, appropriate adaptation measures must be deployed to minimize these negative impacts.”

The annual event, now in its third year, showcased the Solomon Islands Water Sector Adaptation Project and its adaptation benefits, particularly brackish and ultra-water filtration units and automatic hydrometric weather stations installed in six provincial townships and rural communities.

The filtration units produce up to 4,000 liters of water a day and provide crucial potable water in vulnerable communities on lower lying atolls and islands like Taro island (Choiseul Province) and Tuwo Community in Temotu Province’s Fenualoa islands.

The first of its kind in the Solomon Islands, the automatic hydrometric weather stations measure hydrological parameters such as groundwater levels, salinity and water temperature.

The new information forms a crucial part of the national climate and early warning system to enable authorities, communities and families to prepare and act appropriately in sufficient time during dry spells and prolonged periods without rainfall to save lives and reduce harm or loss.