Water quality issues identified during the second assessment in the northwest Islands of Chuuk

A second water systems assessment was carried in the remote atoll islands of Polowat, Pulusuk and Pulap from 2nd – 9th September 2021. This is a follow up assessment to the assessment conducted in June this year as part of the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus Scaling Up Pacific Adaptation (GCCA+SUPA) Project in FSM. The main objectives of the assessment were to confirm selection of buildings for rainwater systems installation with communities, collect engineering details and measurements of selected sites and conduct water quality testing and training on each island. The assessment was led by the GCCA+SUPA FSM Project Coordinator and the Environmental Protection Agency in Chuuk.

During a community meeting on Polowat Island where the building sites were discussed and selected

The team spend two days on each island carrying out the assessment, community meetings and water quality testing activities. The team held community meetings with the leaders and community members on each island to share project progress and confirm selection of buildings for the installation of the water systems on the islands. The meetings culminated with the selection of two buildings per island and the details are summarized below:

Island/Site

Buildings selected for installation

Number of tanks (1,500 gal)

Total number of tanks (1,500 gal)

Polowat Is

Building 1: Health Centre

Building 2: Polowat Elementary School

4

5

9

Pulusuk Is

Building 1: Catholic Church

Building 2: Pulusuk Elementary School

7

3

10

Pullap Is

Building 1: Catholic Church

Building 2: Pullap Municipal Office

2

5

7

The team conducted basic water quality (microbial/chemical) testings on households, schools and communal water storage systems using basic field test kits. In general, the testings found that drinking water sourced from rainwater tanks are unsafe and the communities were advised to boil their water before drinking and to regularly clean and maintain their water tanks. A training on the use of the test kits including the analysis of results was conducted on each island whereby a total of 15 community members were trained.

The communities of Polowat, Pulusuk and Pullap have been very welcoming and supportive of the GCCA+SUPA Project and are delighted to receive support in improving water access. The project will install a total of 26 rainwater tanks across the three islands in early 2022 and will partner closely with the communities throughout the process to build a sense of community ownership on the islands.

One of the schools (Polowat Elementary School) selected for the installation of the rainwater harvesting systems.
One of the schools in Pullap atoll
Women weaving baskets

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