Management and sustainable use of water resources in the pacific is a cross cutting issue that governments and its partner agencies with communities need to seriously consider.
Rhonda Robinson the deputy director water and sanitation programme with the secretariat of the pacific community said pacific small island developing states (SIDS) are lagging behind in access to quality drinking water and sanitation.
Ms Robinson said pacific SIDS have limited and fragile water resources which gives rise to the urgency for governments to take active steps to sustainably manage and protect these limited resources.
She said it is really a huge concern for island countries to consider this seriously because having developments and population growth will put so much pressure on these water sources that requires urgent action.
She said if proper management and use of these water sources are misused and are not protected, pacific SIDS will face a huge problem with water which will lead to sanitation (human waste) issues that brings about health problems.
She said risks of losing water sources and losing lives in the islands will rise significantly if measures were not taken or put in place to address the problem.
Ms Robinson stressed the minimum standard humanitarian response for water is often 15 litres per person a day as the target.
She said pacific SIDS are expecting to double their population by 2030 and if this happens it will definitely bring down the standard water equipment for each person to just half the required water intake of each person.
She added that population growth is only one threat to water sources.
Ms Robinson highlighted climate change issues like coastal erosions and fresh water inundation, disaster etc are pressing issues that leaders and decision makers must not take for granted because they are issues affecting islanders today.
Therefore she said challenges pacific islands face could only be addressed through strong partnerships by governments, agencies, NGOs and community participation in projects that will bring about positive changes.
BY DANIEL NAMOSUAIA