Delivering rainwater storage tanks to outer island communities in FSM
In an ongoing effort to address some of the day-to-day challenges of accessing safe water in vulnerable atoll communities in the outer islands of Polowat, Pulusuk and Pulap in Chuuk State of the Federated State of Micronesia, a total of twenty-six 5,000 litre rainwater storage tanks were purchased and delivered to the three islands from 11th to 19th June 2022.
The activity was made possible through the European Union funded Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Scaling Up Pacific Adaptation (GCCA+SUPA) Project that has, since 2019, been laying the foundation for scaling up water security in several Pacific outer islands that are increasingly vulnerable to climate change.
In FSM, the GCCA+SUPA project is building on the efforts, as well as some of the lessons learnt over the past decade with the Government of the Federated State of Micronesia to combat water insecurity and enhance community resilience during weather hazards such as typhoons and droughts that exacerbate water issues in the country.
The delivery of the 26 rainwater harvesting tanks required the services of a chartered inter-island barge that departed Weno in Chuuk on 11th June 2022. The GCCA+SUPA project will complete the permanent installation of the storage tanks when the plumbing and hardware materials are delivered to Chuuk State later this year. However, a temporary installation of two tanks per island was carried out in this trip to assist in rainwater supply to the local communities during the upcoming North Pacific typhoon season. All six temporary installations were done by the project team with the assistance of the local communities.
Arriving first on the island of Polowat on the 12th of June, a total of eight rainwater harvesting tanks were delivered using outboard motorboats. Two tanks were installed at Polowat Community School on a temporary foundation made from flat black sand ground while the remainder of the tanks were stored for future installations.
The last leg of the trip took place on Pullap on 16th June where a total of ten tanks were offloaded. Two of these tanks were installed at the Pullap Community Church on a temporary foundation made from concrete blocks. The installation of the tanks was timely to catch rain the same evening and by the next morning the residents were using the tanks for their water supply. The remaining eight tanks were stored for permanent installation later this year.
A series of water quality testing was carried out using Aquagenx Field Test Kits provided by the project at three different sites which included Pulusuk Community School water tank, the Polowat Community School water tank and the Polowat Protestant Church water tank. The results of these tests were shared to the community with compelling advice to boil water before consumption.
In addition to this, several meetings with women groups were conducted. The discussions focused on the impacts of climate change that continue to impact water resources. Outreach and awareness sessions were also conducted with community leaders and community members in the three islands. The community shared their appreciation for the way this project is taking a community driven approach, with frequent engagement, and involvement in the planning.