Tuvalu News

Japan Provides Seawater Desalination Plant

Friday: June 2, 2006

(PacNewsService) - Japan is to provide a new seawater desalination plant to Tuvalu, to help ease the chronic water shortage on the island.

The agreement was signed in Suva today between Japanese Ambassador in Fiji, Masashi Namekawa and Tuvalu's High Commissioner, Seve Paeniu.

The sea water desalination plant is worth US$89,000 and provided for under Japan's Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Programme.

Japan's Ambassador Masashi Namekawa said the new machine would ease difficulties faced by the people of Tuvalu and reaffirmed its commitment to the Pacific region.

"This assistance is in recognition of the importance of health services to the public which was committed by the government of Japan through the Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi during the 2006 PALM summit," Ambassador Namekawa said.

"This new seater desalination plant will help relieve some of the hardships that the people of Tuvalu have been facing water shortage recently due to climate change," he continued. "A similar effort was carried out by the Japan Government to relieve Tuvalu's water problems back in 1999 when a state of emergency was declared."

Tuvalu's High Commissioner Seve Paeniu said he was grateful to Japan for coming to Tuvalu's aid in times of need.

"Over the past month or so," Mr Paeniu said, "our current water storage capacity is simply unable to provide sufficient water for consumption, and not only that it has the detrimental effects on the need to maintain adequate standards of health, hygiene and nutrition for our people.

"Tuvalu has numerous vulnerabilities both economic and environmental," Mr Paeniu pointed out. "Because of the geographic formation and the fragility of our tiny atoll islands, water supply is one such environmental vulnerability and that continues to be a major constraint to development in Tuvalu.

"Tuvalu has no rivers or underground water reservoir," he said. "Our only source of water supply is from rain that we collect and store in specially built water tanks."

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