Infant mortality rates in Kiribati due to water-borne diseases and lack of adequate hygiene are amongst the worst in the Pacific. Water-borne diseases also have substantial social and economic costs amongst adult populations.
The Government of Kiribati Project Completion Report on the ADB Sanitation, Public Health and Environment Improvement (SAPHE) Project in March 2006 concluded that: “There is still quite a lot of overlap in the regulatory duties of the different government departments, especially in the area of water, and there have been several instances where the departments could not agree to one common solution over the development of additional water resources.”
The life and death issues surrounding water cut across traditional government sectorial boundaries. They require a whole-of-government approach.