BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
FOUR low lying islands in Solomon Islands have achieved universal access to climate resilient and basic drinking water services, according to UNDP Solomon Islands.
A project under United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) known as Solomon Islands Water Sector Adaptation Project (SIWSAP) has supported five provinces in terms of water and sanitation and climate change.
As a result, UNDP Country Manager Ms Asuza Kubota said four low lying islands such as Taro, Tuwo, Santa Catalina and Tigoa Township have now achieved universal access to climate resilient and basic drinking water services.
She said to date SIWSAP has supported five provinces with over one million additional litres of rainwater storage, four desalination water treatment and one ultrafiltration water treatment plant.
Furthermore, SIWSAP has helped with five automatic hydrometric stations linked to satellites, over 50 new improved wells and three piped water schemes, she adds.
Kubota said a total of about 583 households have been made water secure through these efforts.
However, Kubota said as an ambitious project, the implementation of SIWSAP has also been faced with challenges and valuable lessons to be learnt from.
She said, one lesson is the importance of working closely with provincial and community actors to ensure sustainability and ownership.
“For example, provincial officers have been trained to operate desalination filtration plants to ensure maintenance and effective functioning.”
Community leaders have been engaged at every stage of planning and management of projects, from the participatory vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning phase, to the implementation and operation and management of infrastructure, she adds.
Another lesson is the importance of recognising the interdependency of the Sustainable Development Goals, and SIWSAP has mobilised a wide range of stakeholders and benefited from their expertise, commitment and courage.
“Sustainable management of water and sanitation underpins wider efforts to end poverty, advance sustainable development and sustain peace and stability,” Kubota said.
She calls regardless of sectors one works for, all need to come together and work towards the SDGs.
Meanwhile, the SIWSAP project is due to end mid-next year.
Kubota said SIWSAP has achieved a lot, but a lot more needs to be done, and at a much faster pace, if we are to achieve SDG 6.
She said UNDP are hopeful partners will continue to disseminate lessons learnt from the SIWSAP experience and invest in models that are innovative, sustainable and climate proof.
SIWSAP is an innovative initiative mainstreamed climate risks and impacts into all aspects of water planning and management and has an important part to play in sharing knowledge.
The project has fostered an inter-sectoral approach, working through partnerships between ministries, primarily MMERRE, MECDM and MHMS.
They also work closely with provincial governments, civil society organisations and the private sector partners.