Enhancing water security and resilience to climate change in Niue

The ‘Scaling up water storage and water quality monitoring in Niue in response to climate change’ project will expand previous water security interventions to establish effective backup water systems for households. Capacity building for key government agencies to monitor and analyze the quality of the stored water is another component of the project.

Project Focus: Water Sector

Direct benefit: 500 persons
Indirect benefit: 1,219 persons

  • Geographic coordinates: Lat. 19°S, Long. 169°W
  • Total land area 259 km²
  • Exclusive economic zone (EEZ) 390,000 km²
  • Population (2017) 1,719
  • Temperatures have warmed and will continue to warm with more very hot days in the future.
  • Rainfall data since 1905 show no clear trends. Wet season rainfall is generally projected to increase over this century with more extreme rainfall days and fewer droughts.
  • Ocean acidification has been increasing in Niue’s waters. It will continue to increase and threaten coral reef ecosystems.
  • Wave heights may decrease in December to March.
  • Sea level near Niue has risen and will continue to rise throughout this century.

Source: BOM, CSIRO, 2014, Climate Variability, Extremes and Change in the Western Tropical Pacific: New Science and Updated Country Reports

How does this project address climate change adaptation in Niue?

Niue is a raised limestone island with no surface water and the entire population relies largely on the groundwater lens for potable water. The effects of climate change on temperature, rainfall, weather extremes, and sea level rise pose challenges for Niue, and the need for back-up water systems has emerged as a priority especially during prolonged power outages following storms and cyclones.

Focusing on the scaling up of household water storage and the improvement of water quality monitoring, the project will adopt a participatory and inclusive approach that addresses the vulnerabilities and the rights of the householders in Niue. Water quality monitoring skills and the capacity of key government departments will be enhanced, and community leaders will acquire improved skills in climate resilience.

After village inspections and assessments, rainwater harvesting systems will be connected in selected households and a programme for maintenance and oversight of the systems, supported by a specially designed communications programme, will be implemented by the householders.

The capacity of the Ministry of Health to sample, analyze and report on water quality will be addressed through the provision of specialized water testing equipment and training. Improved responses to water shortages will be achieved through the pilot electronic monitoring of village reservoirs.

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Key Highlights

  • Conducting inspections of household water storage systems
  • Developing selection criteria that address the needs of the most vulnerable households where rainwater harvesting systems need installation.
  • Installation of rainwater storage tanks at identified households.
  • Establishing a programme for regular maintenance and water quality testing of the rainwater harvesting systems by householders.
  • Providing water quality testing equipment and training to the Public Health Unit
  • Conducting a needs analysis and raising awareness about climate resilience for local area stakeholders.
  • Building the capacity of community leaders and village council members in climate resilience through accredited training.
  • Integrating climate change and disaster risk into local area sustainable development plans.
  • Assessing the impacts of past climate change adaptation projects and applying the results to national strategic planning.

Activities meet the following SDGs:


Enhancing water storage capacity

Concept Note

Climate Change Profile

Consultation Reports – Oct 2019

Project Design Document – Amended June 2021

Installation of water security measures

Detailed List of Existing Rainwater Harvesting Installation Materials- May 2021

Summary of Household Assessments- Rainwater Harvesting Systems

Conceptual Design- Rainwater Harvesting Systems

Water quality measures

Building community resilience

Country Brief

Desktop Review