Japanese fund three desalination plants for Tuvalu

A 100 m³/d desalination plant and two 10 m³/d plants are to be included in a US$ 4 million project for the drought-stricken islands of Tuvalu approved by the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) Fund on 7 October 2011.

Tuvalu declared a state of emergency on 28 September 2011 due to lack of fresh water supply and having recorded the lowest rainfall in three consecutive years of drought.

The 100 m³/d desalination plant will be supplied for the main island Funafuti, while the two 10 m³/d plants that will be mobile and can be shipped to the outer islands during times of extreme dry periods.

In addition, a 65.52 kWp solar photovoltaic (PV) system will be installed directly to the power grid on Funafuti. The solar PV system will result in annual cost savings equivalent to 38 t of diesel for the Government of Tuvalu and will reduce carbon emissions.

The PEC Fund is a commitment by the Government of Japan of ¥ 6.8 billion (approx US$ 66 million) to support Forum Island Country projects, with a focus on the provision of solar power-generation systems and seawater desalination plants, sometimes in combination. The fund is managed and administered by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

· According to ABC Radio Australia on 14 October 2011, the Red Cross delivered two desalination plants to the Tuvalu island of Nukulaelae in the nick of time. There were just a few buckets of water left for more than 300 residents.

The station quotes the Tuvalu government as saying that the water crisis is likely to last until at least January, when there is more chance of heavy rain.