This desalination project is an answer to a request expressed by the Prime Minister’s office concerned about water shortage in rainwater dependent islands. It is funded through the Agreement of Regional Cooperation 2015 between France, New-Caledonia and Vanuatu.
The project aims at providing water to schools and communities using water mobile desalination units during droughts periods such as El Nino few months ago. The choice of the priority islands in terms of water needs was made by the operator of the project, the Department of Geology, Mines and Rural Water Supplies according to criteria such as water requirements, mobile units technical constraints and location accessibility. According to this Department, the most affected places are the small and flat islands: 14 islands distributed on Malekula, Santo and the Shepherd were chosen to be supplied by 4 mobile units moved by boat from an island to the other one. These Islands are:
- Malampa : Norsup, Uribif, Uri, Rano, Wala, Atchin, and Vao Islands
- East Santo : Tutuba and Mafea Islands
- Shepherds Islands : Emae, Tongariki, Buniga, Makira and Mataso
The desalination units will be under the responsibility of operators of Rural Water Supplies’ Services and Public Works in provinces announced which will ensure storage, maintenance and service of the units by boat. A training on good use and maintenance of these machines will be provided to the operators in Port-Vila on the June, 16th.
After this training, the French Embassy will hand over the responsibility of the project to the Department of Geology, Mines and Rural Water Supplies to ensure a good coordination with all partners involved in this project: Department of Public Works, Energy Department, Department of Local Authorities, Ministry of Education and Training, National Disaster Management Office, provincial authorities and communities. This will also enable the Water Supplies Department to collect data on quantity and quality of water distributed in schools and communities.