Water Journal : Current May 2017
DROUGHT MANAGEMENT MWSC’s management of the 2016 drought was successful in ensuring that Majuro avoided a major disaster by: • The application of a drought management plan prepared in December 2015; • Providing a better definition of what is the safe yield of the Laura groundwater lens to ensure the lens was not negatively affected; • Optimal management of the airport catchment using a water-balance model by the primary author; • Coordination with commercial drinking water suppliers to ensure availability of drinking water; • Coordination with RMI EPA for development of emergency water tankering regulations to enable the tanker demand to be met; and • Leasing an emergency Saltwater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) plant as the primary risk management tool (although the drought broke before the plant arrived in Majuro and it was shipped back to Australia unopened. However, it was a major risk management decision in ensuring that 28,000 people were not without adequate water supply). The primary learning from the 2016 drought was that water resource management is critical – the issue was primarily one of effective water resource management rather than a severe shortage of water. Water resources will be an ongoing challenge for RMI but continuing development of good planning and management practices by the leaders of MWSC and a better understanding of drought management by the general community will mean that 3000mm of rain a year will be adequate. Allen Gale was Water and Sanitation Advisor to the Republic of Marshall Islands at the time of preparation of this paper. He is a former national president of AWA and received AWA’s Exceptional Services (George Goffin) Award in 2010. Halston deBrum is Operation Manager at Majuro Water and Sewer Company. To read the full article, visit the Water e-Journal at bit.ly/water_ejournal The primary water source in Majuro is the airport runway, which meets the needs of the greater community.
Current Feb 2017
Current August 2017