The effects of climate change on temperatures, humidity, rainfall and weather extremes are affecting the quality and quantity of water resources available for residents in Nauru. In particular, drought and flooding events are major concerns. With a small land area and very limited groundwater resources, access to potable water is a major concern. Presently Nauru does not have a piped water distribution system and relies on desalinated water, rainwater harvesting and groundwater – all of which require storage at the household level – to meet water needs.
More than 250 households in Nauru are classified as vulnerable based on the mini population census conducted in 2019 and data from the Nauru Utilities Corporation.
A survey of 165 vulnerable households conducted by the Global Climate Change Alliance Plus – Scaling Up Pacific Adaptation (GCCA+ SUPA) project between May and June 2020 found that 30% do not have more than 5,000L of water storage and have either the elderly or people with disabilities living with them. The number of occupants within vulnerable households range from 1 to 35 with 49% under the age of 18. Water storage types vary in Nauru but the most vulnerable are either using a neighbour’s water storage or using the community/Refugee Lodge tanks or buying bottled water.
The GCCA+ SUPA project will provide new water tanks dedicated to the storage of desalinated water for up to 50 vulnerable households.