PACC Demonstration Guide: Improving rainwater harvesting infrastructure in Tokelau



In Tokelau, the PACC+ project is building resilience to drought by improving the territory’s water resources management. As Tokelau is a territory of New Zealand, it was not able to benefit from the Global Environment Facility-funded Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change (PACC) programme. However, the country did benefit from additional funding to the PACC programme made available from the Australian Government in 2011, called PACC+. This guide, developed as part of the PACC+ demonstration project, details the process undertaken to design and implement various measures to enhance household and communal rainwater harvesting infrastructures in Tokelau.

Tokelau’s water resources are scarce and the country relies solely on rainwater harvesting for all its freshwater needs. Prior to the PACC+ project, rainwater harvesting systems were not optimised to capture and store sufficient water to provide for the country during drought periods.

The PACC+ project engaged an external team of water and sanitation experts to scope out possible options for the project. Following this technical assessment, a baseline survey, review of existing literature, consultations in each village, and consultations with the Government of Tokelau, rainwater harvesting system upgrades were selected for all three villages.

In order to avoid duplication of effort, the project focused on implementing adaptation measures identified in the Integrated Waste Management, Water and Sanitation Review and Action Plan, the guiding document for the water sector. Project implementation started in 2012. Activities included installing new guttering and connections, carrying out repairs to existing water tanks, installation of first flush diverters, and a programme to raise awareness on water conservation and also rainwater harvesting equipment and its care and maintenance.

The project experienced some delays in its implementation, essentially due to coordination issues. With the main governing body (and the PACC+ coordinator) operating from Samoa, and the isolation of the islands from each other, this poses a challenge. A lesson learned from the project is that strong coordination mechanisms are needed to implement such projects in Tokelau.