Pacific Region

A diverse region facing common water challenges

The Pacific Region covers 15 percent of the Earth’s surface and is home to 10 million people who speak over 1,500 distinct languages. There are 21 nation states located in this region: American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Northern Marianas, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna.

The Pacific faces several challenges regarding its water resources. Almost all Pacific Island areas are at or close to sea level, which makes them very vulnerable to climate change related increases in natural disaster frequency and rising sea levels. In addition, an estimated 80 percent of Pacific Islanders are living in rural areas, and rural water management is of particular importance for agriculture, health and natural disaster management. Rapid population growth and increasing urbanisation also exacerbate the challenges for water resource management.

AWP and the Pacific Water Utilities

Australia works closely with Pacific island countries to support economic growth, stability, and sustainable development. Since 2016, the Australian Water Partnership (AWP) has undertaken projects related to climate risk and has supported the Pacific Water and Wastewater Association (PWWA), which is the peak body for the Pacific islands water utilities.

The PWWA is the professional association of the water and wastewater sector whose mission is to act as the regional voice for water matters in the Pacific and support Pacific Water Ministers in carrying out their agenda. Improving the delivery of water related services will enhance the wellbeing of people throughout the Pacific region.

Transforming Pacific utilities through targeted capacity building

With support from the AWP and its partner organisation Hunter H2O, the PWWA has undergone a transformation from a volunteer-based organisation to full-time, professional management with a new governance structure and a five-year Strategic Plan. In addition, the PWWA has conducted Young Water Professional (YWP) training programs to build the capacity of young professionals in Pacific Water and Wastewater utilities across the region during its annual conferences.

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