GCF-Supporting vulnerable communities in Maldives to manage climate-change induced water shortages


The project’s main objective is to deliver safe and secure freshwater to 105,000 people in the islands of Maldives in the face of climate change risks. The proposed solution to maximize water production is by scaling up the use of an integrated water resource management (IWRM) system that will bring three primary sources of water (rainwater, groundwater, and desalinated water) into a least cost delivery system that is able to maintain service levels against climate change related pressures. By addressing the main barriers to implement an integrated water system (cost recovery; management capacity; and institutional mandates, coordination and policy direction) a paradigm shift can be achieved. Implementation of this system will encourage replication (adoption by others), considering the legislative mandate to provide clean water in the 2008 Constitution of the country. This project is based on national priorities and has been endorsed by the National Designated Authority for Maldives. 


The outer islands in Maldives experience drinking water shortages due to prolonged dry seasons. The prolonged dry periods have adverse human, environmental and social impacts on the communities that rely on rainwater. Some within the communities are affected more, as 27% of the population live under the poverty line with US/2 per day. The freshwater insecurity arises from the effects of climate change such as unreliable rainfall patterns and the rise of sea-level leading to groundwater salinity.

According to IPCC and RIMES reports, sea-level rise of 3.1mm/year and the decreasing rainfall amounts will considerably exacerbate the current water stress in the country. The Government requires assistance to respond to the challenge at hand, especially in line with the anticipated pernicious impacts of climate change. Firstly, the insecure fiscal status that confronts the Government, limits the response options to this emerging crisis to largely reactive emergency measures. Long-term solutions without additional financial support are out of reach. Secondly, the dispersed and small population on 186 islands prevents the possibility of economies of scale in providing water and sanitation services, including capital infrastructure. 

Major Achievements

  • Completion and handover of 8 (of 25) RWH systems and 2 (of 4) IWRM systems to project islands. 

  • Establishment of Learning Management System for Water and Sanitation Department for current and future capacity development needs 

  • Formulated a Potable Water Security Operational Plan and subsequent improvements to dry period water provision 

  • Conducted the first comprehensive groundwater baseline study with country wide coverage 

  • Formulated a groundwater management frameworks 

  • Informed legislation and subsequent regulation on water resource-management in Maldives (Water and Sewerage Act, Water Resources Protection Regulation, etc…) 

  • Influenced the Government to adopt the IWRM model, and successfully installed IWRM systems with solar panels (covering 100% of energy need for water production) 

  • 6 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) added to MMS AWS network to improve weather prediction capacity 

  • Upgraded the Moosun app to include Probable Area of Rainwater Harvesting alert to encourage and empower communities to collect rainwater 

  • Developed the Tariff Model and subsequent training, to be used by Utility Regulatory Authority (URA) as a management and analytical tool for utility regulation. 

  • Developed the National Certificate level 3 and 4 courses for water sector 

Project outcome:

  • Scaling up an integrated water supply system to provide safe water to vulnerable households; 

  • Introduction of decentralized and cost-effective dry season water supply systems; 

  • Groundwater quality improved to secure freshwater reserves for long term resilience. 

GESI Component

  • Implementation of the GCF Gender Action Plan (GAP):  

  1. Conducting a one-day knowledge sharing session between state utilities, where gender mainstreaming amongst utilities will be highlighted 

  2. Inclusion of affirmative action for women in training (in the water sector) in the Gender Equity Action Plan that is being developed by the ministry; to prioritize women in the selection for training programmes.  

  3. Supported FENAKA in revision of the FENAKA HR policies with gender lens  

  4. A focus on women’s participation in detailed water awareness programmes in all project islands