Palau: Improved access to safe water for the Haiyan affected people

Jul 8, 2014

A photo of the devastated Kayangel by Haiyan. Photo credit: Barry Pollock.

Some 200 people of Kayangel, a small island of Palau are now taking support from a UNDP project for having improved access to water through renewable and sustainable solar water pumping systems. It is expected that the new system will improve the stable access of power to run the pumps in Kayangel, in turn improving access to freshwater for the inhabitants of the island.

As a detrimental consequence of climate change, the people of Kayangel had been affected severely by the super typhoon Haiyan that struck the South-East Asia and the Pacific in 2013 and left behind many people vulnerable and homeless. It destroyed almost everything of about 20, 000 Palauans from which they are still struggling to regain a modest living.  

Like many island nations, Palau, located in the western Pacific has low-lying islands which are sensitive to the consequences of climate change and more prone to climatic hazards such as cyclones, tidal surges droughts and changed temperatures. Hence, they are keen to adopt climate change mitigating and adaptation measures, such as increasing the use of renewable energy and reducing dependence on fossil fuel based energy.

To ensuring safe drinking water a project titled “The Pacific Island Greenhouse Gas Abatement through Renewable Energy (PIGGAREP) is now being implemented at Kayangel with funding from the Global Environment Facility and Denmark/SIDS DOCK and having a close cooperation with the European Union. UNDP alongside with its implementing partner, the Secretariat for the Regional Pacific Environment Programme, SPREP implements climate change mitigation projects in across 14 countries in the Pacific region, the solar water pump project in Kayangel, Palau is one of them. The project provides with two solar water pumps, a water storage tank, and a chlorinator to improve water access for the affected people which in turn will contribute to reduced reliance on fossil fuel based energy in the days to come. It provides valuable experience with renewable solar energy as a source of power and helps increasing water storage capacity and improves the quality of the water being pumped from the aquifer.

Clarissa Adelbai, Grants Manager at Palau Public Utilities Cooperation and National Coordinator for the PIGGAREP project, is glad that water management and sustainable energy solutions receive concerted donor attentions.

“We look forward to again being able to access water from the aquifer, and the use of solar powered water pumps which should be an environmental friendly and equally a cost effective solution for us.” says Clarissa Adelbai.

 A contaminated reservoir. Photo credit: Barry Pollock.

“We already started our work for the installation of solar water pump and I am very much hopeful that the people of Kayangel will enjoy the taste of clean surface water by December 2014”. She further added. 

UNDP works in close partnership with the Governments of the Pacific region alongside other development partners, providing them with technical, normative and analytical expertise; funds; and organizational and coordination support to assist in efforts to attain their development aspirations with having regional and national projects/ programmes in the areas of Democratic Governance, Sustainable Livelihoods/Poverty Reduction, Crisis Prevention and Recovery, Environment and Energy and Gender Mainstreaming etc.

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