Government promises end to seasonal water shortages

Government promises end to seasonal water shortages
October 15 16:06 2015

The government is aiming to solve water shortages during the dry season within two years, State Minister for Environment Abdul Matheen Mohamed said on Tuesday.

Several islands across the Maldives report water shortages during the dry season each year.

Speaking at a ceremony held to hand over rainwater harvesting systems to the island councils of Rasgetheemu, Angolhitheemu, and Vaadhoo in Raa atoll, Matheen said water storage tanks have been set up in nine islands under a project undertaken by the environment ministry. Work is currently underway in 11 islands, he said.

“This project will also be carried out next year. A complete solution to water shortages can be found in the next two years,” Matheen reportedly said.

The tanks have a storage capacity of 64 tonnes of water. According to the environment ministry, the rainwater harvesting systems cost MVR2.2 million (US$142,600).

The project began in December 2014 in Raa and Baa atolls.

Some 97 islands had reported water shortages during the four-month-long northeastern monsoon this year.

Since it was established in 2004 after the Indian Ocean tsunami – which contaminated groundwater in several islands – the national disaster management centre has been providing water to about 80 of the Maldives’ 188 inhabited islands each dry season for the last ten years.

While islands communities relied on groundwater in the past, consumption in most islands has increased above the rate at which groundwater is naturally replenished, according to the environment ministry, forcing communities to rely on rainwater.

In 2005, the government provided islands with large numbers of storage tanks to store rainwater.

However, with low average rainfall during the dry season, numerous islands are left in a drought every year, forced to rely on the disaster centre for drinking water.