Authorities are trying to identify additional water sources that will help increase Palau’s resilience to extreme drought.
In an interview yesterday, Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) Chief Executive Officer Yimnang Golbuu said that the country is working on a project dubbed as “Increasing Palau’s resilience to extreme drought events: Taking action for long-term adaptation to the impacts of climate change.” [restrict]
Tutii Chilton of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce (MPIIC) and Anthony Rudimch of the Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC)are leading the component of exploring new wells and making sure that these are tested and suitable for consumption so that the country can tap these water sources in times of drought.
According to Golbuu, the whole program is funded by the government of Italy.
In their project proposal statement, they cited that Palau had faced the most severe droughts in terms of duration and intensity in its recorded history last summer of 2016 which caused one of the two main sources of the country’s water supply to dry up. The other source of water had also previously reduced its water production by 87%.
Part of the steps taken for the project is to conduct a feasibility study to assess additional water sources and provide recommendations to develop these sources.
A company consultant based in the United Kingdom is expected to come to Palau soon to conduct the feasibility study and work with the PPUC in finding wells, Golbuu said.
But while the feasibility study is being worked out, Golbuu said that they realized that they also needed to also work on raising the public’s awareness on the importance of water conservation.
“We cannot just focus on finding new water sources. We also have to make a big component on education awareness on water conservation because you can find as much water but if you don’t conserve it then it’s just wasted money, wasted time, wasted effort,” Golbuu said, explaining that PICRC is tasked to work on educating the public on water conservation.
“With climate change, we have high chance of having more extreme weather events [such as] drought, extreme storms, and we should always practice water conservation whether there’s rain or not, because when there’s drought and you practice conservation, we’re in a better shape,” Golbuu added.
Just recently, The National Emergency Committee (NEC) just declared Palau under Water Shortage Alert starting March 20 after it observed drastic fall of water supply level from Ngerimel and Ngerikiil, Airai resoirvoirs due to lack of rainfall and high water consumption. (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)[/restrict]