Cover Image
close this bookSourcebook of Alternative Technologies for Freshwater Augmentation in Small Island Developing States (UNEP-IETC, 1998, 230 p.)
close this folderPart A - Introduction
View the document1. Background
View the document2. Purpose of the source book
View the document3. Structure of the source book
View the document4. How to use the source book
Open this folder and view contents5. Methodology for the identification and classification of small islands
View the document6. Results of the discussions at the workshop on augmenting freshwater resouces
View the documentInformation sources

6. Results of the discussions at the workshop on augmenting freshwater resouces

These conclusions and recommendations are based on the prepared reports, presentations and discussions of the participants at the Workshop on Technologies for Maximising and Augmenting Freshwater Resources in Small Islands (Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and South China Sea Regions), held in Suva, Fiji, between 6 and 8 February 1996, and the Workshop on Alternative Technologies for Freshwater Augmentation in the Caribbean, held in Barbados, between 24 and 27 October 1995. The participants recognized many differences among the small island states represented at the Workshop, including differences due to physical factors (size, topography, geology, location and climate); economic factors (resource base, level of development including industry, tourism and agriculture); political factors (some islands are part of independent small island states while others are part of larger archipelagos or continental countries); demography (population density and distribution); and, social and cultural factors (level of skills amongst the workforce, and local customs). However, it was further recognised that there are a number of commonalities between small islands which make it difficult to assess, develop and manage freshwater resources. These commonalities included very limited freshwater resources; isolation and the difficulty of travel and communications; fragile ecosystems; extreme exposure and vulnerability to natural disasters (including cyclones/typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, droughts, floods and the threat of rising sea levels); and, a shortage of trained staff in the water sector.

The participants also recognized a number of successful and widely-used technologies which are applicable to small islands, although it was also recognised that some technologies are applicable to some island environments and not to others. Notwithstanding, the participants agreed that they could collectively learn from their individual experiences, in order that technologies that have been found to be successful can be appropriately applied in similar island environments. Examples of successful water resources development technologies in island environments include the use of vertical boreholes (drilled wells) and stream bed collector systems on high volcanic islands with available groundwater and surface water, and the use of rainwater collection systems, dug wells and infiltration galleries to maximize storage of available groundwater on low coral islands (particularly atolls). It was also noted that some islands have particular circumstances, such as the non-occurrence or exhaustion of naturally-available freshwater resources, which mean that alternative technologies such as desalination must be applied. The participants also identified gaps in current knowledge which require further research. These are discussed further in Part B of the Source Book.

The participants at the workshops made the following, specific recommendations:

· Island countries should concentrate on the rational and systematic assessment, development and management of naturally-occurring freshwater resources (such as groundwater, rainwater, and surface water) before other, more expensive and complex technologies are planned or introduced.

· The enactment and enforcement of appropriate water resources and environmental legislation should be supported and encouraged to protect, conserve and manage naturally-occurring water resources and associated fragile ecosystems.

· Conjunctive use of different sources of water should be encouraged to optimise the use of freshwater (e.g., combining the use of rainwater and groundwater).

· Continuous and thorough review of established technologies and practices is required to allow the practical application of appropriate water resources development alternatives.

· Community consultation and participation in water development and management is essential.

· Continued and continuous demand management measures, including leak detection, minimisation of unaccounted-for water losses, use of water-saving devices, public education and awareness campaigns regarding water conservation, and economic pricing policies, are required in order to maximise the use of existing, developed water sources.

· Water supply and sanitation should be considered in an integrated fashion, including consideration of alternative systems which act to conserve water and minimise pollution of soil and water (e.g., composting toilets, particularly on small coral islands).

· Adequate hydrometeorological and water quality monitoring systems are essential to properly evaluate the behaviour of fragile island water resources and water development projects utilising these resources.

Figure 7. Map of the regions included in this Source Book.

Inter-sectoral involvement of water resources, land management, and agricultural agencies staff and community representatives for integrated water management is required.

· Research is required to:

* refine analysis and design procedures for rainwater catchments (water quantity and quality) to allow appropriate definition of design parameters such as length of rainfall record, time resolution of rainfall data, and runoff coefficients, through research involving instrumentation of a rainwater system or systems with automatic rain gauges, metering of outflows and recording of water levels in the tank;

* identify effective methods for community consultation and participation in water resources management;

* further analyse groundwater recharge in island environments (noting the current UNESCO/SOPAC project on the island of Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati);

* further investigate groundwater contamination (noting the current UNESCO/SOPAC project on the island of Lifuka, Kingdom of Tonga).

· Dissemination of information from within and outside the region is required, particularly in the following areas:

* ferrocement tank construction;

* use of alternative materials for rainwater tank construction that are suitable from a structural, economic, water quality and durability viewpoint;

* use of composting toilets;

* development and use of solar energy.

· Linkages between existing regional, international and local organisations are encouraged to assist with information exchange and technology transfer, including, but not limited to, the following: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC); Organisation of American States (OAS); International Water Supply Association (IWSA); International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO); universities and research organisations working in the field of island water and sanitation issues; water sector utilities and other water agencies within the islands of the Region; United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF); World Health Organization (WHO); United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); World Meteorological Organization (WMO); Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council; and The World Bank Water and Sanitation Program.