Protecting (scarce) fresh water in the Maldives

15 Apr 2016 by Keti Chachibaia, Regional Technical Specialist for Climate Change Adaptation, UNDP’s Bangkok Regional Hub

man and desalination plantA local Feneka operator stands in front of the desalinization system. Photo: Keti Chachibaia/UNDP Maldives
Water is a big deal in the Maldives. The archipelago nation of 300,000 people is more water than land. But while abundant in ocean resources, the only freshwater is rainwater that is harvested in special collection tanks. But poor rainfall leaves groundwater tables low and harvesting tanks half empty. This leaves many people and communities straining resources to buy bottled water or struggling to get by. A naturally vulnerable situation is only being exacerbated by climate change, as monsoonal cycles and associated rainfall patterns shift over the Indian Ocean. Greater variations are already occurring and the Maldivians, especially in the Northern atolls, experience longer-than-usual dry seasons. As a result, the National Disaster Management Centre is regularly called upon to deliver emergency water. … Read more

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