Enhance Climate Resiliency and Water Security in the Maldives

Constructing sea wall in Maldives part of USAID climate change project

USAID is implementing a four-year program entitled Enhance Climate Resiliency and Water Security in the Maldives (or Maldives GCC) project. This project is helping the island communities of the Maldives build resilience to global climate change by assisting the government of the Maldives, island councils, the national utility, private sector, and residents of two northern islands with water supply, sewerage, and solid waste services, and associated infrastructure. The project focuses on reducing climate-related risks in the development, use, and conservation of water resources. Maldives GCC is developing the knowledge and skills that island residents need to become stewards of their environment and to make rational, informed decisions on key climate change adaptation issues. The duration of project is from October 1, 2011, to September 30, 2015.

The program will complement government strategies through an integrated water resources management approach that strengthens resiliency through community mobilization, capacity building, and the use of innovative technologies. The program will facilitate dialogue among stakeholders at all levels to identify options and solutions to the challenges of water scarcity, sea level rise, and other likely impacts of climate change.

With a budget of $7.3 million, the program is designed to mobilize the communities it serves and work with provincial utilities to design, build, and operate seawater desalinization facilities to deliver clean drinking water to the two islands. Each of these communities is home to about 4,000 people who already face water scarcity problems associated with poor sanitation practices, salt-water intrusion, and limited quantities of rainwater harvested from rooftop catchments. Both islands are undergoing land reclamation projects that will secure coastlines and provide additional living space for migrants from adjacent low-lying islands. The growing populations will put even greater pressure on water resources for these two population centers. The program will bring together key stakeholders in the water sector and help them consider alternatives for water system design, management, and cost-recovery.

In order to address both short-term water needs and build resiliency to long-term climate change, the program will utilize Sea Water Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) technology for potable water and help build the capacity of provincial utilities to provide this and other services in a sustainable manner. To ensure sustainability, the utilities will collect fees for water provision, sewerage, solid waste collection, and other services. Renewable energy options will be assessed for the SWRO units, island power generation, and other uses. As part of an ecosystem-based approach, seawater desalination will complement other water resource management practices such as rainwater capture, groundwater rehabilitation, and preservation of natural catchment areas.

Ultimately, USAID hopes the program will serve as a model for other small islands in the Maldives and elsewhere seeking integrated solutions to the challenges of rising sea levels.  USAID expects the approach to allow communities to be more resilient to climate change through greater understanding of climate vulnerabilities and the application of viable adaptation strategies.

Duration :

Saturday, October 1, 2011 - 09:30 to Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 09:30
Funding Source: 
Government of Maldives, Chemonics