The creation of the Sustainable Integrated Water and Sanitation Policy for Tuvalu is another milestone for the Government and the people of Tuvalu. The idea of a policy was initiated as a component of International Waters Program (IWP) in 2006. As part of objectives, the two projects IWRM and PACC provide the basis of formulating a policy. This idea was further developed as a result of wide-spread public concerns generated through the climate change nation-wide consultations in August, 2011, the Water Forum in September 22- 23 and the climate change summit on September 30, 2011. It was echoed in the review of the TK II and raised in Parliament in November 2011. It was recognised that water is a socially vital economic good which is scarce and the need to protect and conserve water for meeting basic human needs and other development needs of the people must be carefully managed and protected. The life and well-being of the people of Tuvalu depend entirely on the sustainable supply of rainwater. Groundwater especially on the capital, Funafuti is contaminated and not fit for drinking due to poor design of septic tanks. While Government initiatives in the past have been supportive in providing water infrastructure and provisions of communal and household tanks and water cisterns, the ultimate problem facing the nation is critically the shortage of water to satisfy human needs, especially in times of drought periods. Coincidentally, the Water Forum was timely as it was held at the period when Tuvalu was on the brink of a serious drought. Five days later the Head of State of Tuvalu proclaimed a State of Public Emergency for the whole of Tuvalu as a result of shortage of Water. The need to incorporate sanitation into this one policy document was seen as a springboard to protect our fragile environment and public health and improve our hygienic status.
The purpose of this policy is not intended for Government to take full control on the management of this finite water resource but to bring together all stakeholders, key institutions to work cooperatively in improving the supply, and protection of water resources and improving sanitation services in the country. The bottom-line is to ensure that there is a sustainable, safe and adequate supply of rainwater every day. It is the expectation of this policy that, key authorities will improve and strengthen their coordination and collaboration efforts, build capacity of key personnel , improvement in human and financial resources and effective sharing of information through a coordinated database.
This policy builds on the National Climate Change Policy. It is consistent with Tuvalu’s National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSSD)- Te Kakeega II.