The impacts of climate change, particularly sea-level rise and pronounced droughts have severe consequences on water and sanitation in the Solomon Islands. Due to sea-level rise, low-lying islands, atolls and flat deltaic regions are faced with salt water intrusion, affecting the groundwater resources and limiting access to freshwater supply. Droughts have severely affected water supplies; during the 1997/1998 droughts that resulted in reduction of freshwater availability in Honiara by around 30-40%. Droughts have also damaged crops and livelihoods.
Likewise, climate related impacts on the quality and quantity of water has a gender dimension; in the context of the ethnic tensions, the safety and security of women and girls are compromised as they need to travel further to collect water, also leading to less time for other activities. In this context, the Government Solomon Islands and UNDP is embarking on the Solomon Islands Water Sector Adaptation Project through support from Global Environment Facility Least Developed Country Fund.
The project objective is to improve the resilience of water resources to the impacts climate change and improve health, sanitation and quality of life, so that livelihoods can be enhanced and sustained in the targeted vulnerable areas. SIWSAP will work with partners to achieve this objective through
- formulating, integrating, and mainstreaming water sector-climate change adaptation response plans in the water-related sectors as well as broader policy and development frameworks,
- increasing the reliability and improving the quality of water supply in targeted areas
- investing in cost-effective and adaptive water management interventions and technology transfer, and
- improving governance and knowledge management for climate change adaptation in the water sector at the local and national levels.
At the end of the four years implementation of the project, the Government of Solomon Island will have enhanced systems, tools, and knowledge for water resource resilience at the national and local levels, which will contribute to the implementation and achievement of national priorities outlined in various policies and strategies, including the National Adaptation Program of Action 2008, National Development Strategy 2011 – 2020, National Water and Sanitation Sector Plan 2007.