Male, Maldives – A two day workshop on groundwater protection through sustainable integrated water supply systems was organised in Nasandura Palace Hotel. A demonstration project, which is to be implemented in Alifu Alifu atoll Thoddoo island, will pilot the system by harnessing rainwater and desalination to reduce overreliance on vulnerable groundwater while also promoting good practices to reduce and control groundwater pollution by agrochemical inputs. In addition to addressing the key issues on water supply and pollution in Thoddo, the demonstration project seeks to show case the benefits of adopting an more coordinated and integrated approach to water management that involves all stakeholders and water users.
The workshop was organised to plan the way forward for the implementation of the pilot project, including the development of sustainable water resource management plans, awareness raising and training activities, and the construction of new facilities such as a desalination plant that is expected to be established by end of this year 2014.
The two days workshop was also aiming to share information about the pilot project with all relevant actors and initiate planning and implementation based on a more participatory and inclusive approach. It gathered 25 participants from various fields and islands. The event was inaugurated by the Minister of Environment and Energy, Mr. Thorig Ibrahim. It was also attended by the Minister of State for Fisheries and Agriculture Ms. Zaha Waheed, Minister of State Mr. Abdul Matheen Mohamed, Deputy Minister Mr. Athhar Haleem and several heads of the ministries.
The demonstration project is funded by the government and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through UNDP and executed by UN Office for Project Services based on Project Cooperation Agreement with the Ministry of Environment and Energy as the implementing Government agency.
Speaking at the ceremony, Hon. Minister Mr. Thorig Ibrahim highlighted the importance and urgency of establishing the integrated water supply systems due to the vulnerability of the country’s precious water resources to pollution, salt water intrusion and climate change impacts. During the inauguration ceremony, the Director General of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, Mrs. Shaheeda Abraham noted that “the traditional fragmented approach in water management was no longer viable and a more holistic approach is essential”. The UNDP Assistant Resident Representative, Mr Mohamed Inaz concluded the meeting by highlighting the need for multi-sectoral approach in addressing water challenges in the country.
The demonstration project is expected to be completed at the end of 2016.