Vanuatu is a South Pacific island group famed for its beautiful beaches, world-class diving and ancient culture. Beauty aside, the island has dealt with a number of issues surrounding its water quality and the reliability of its water system.

Because the island is inhabited in part by tourists who visit sporadically, maintaining reliable water sources for the entire island population can prove to be quite difficult. Furthermore, the island community predicts that the risk of pollution and climate-related changes will affect and likely lessen the availability of clean water sources in years to come.

Water quality in Vanuatu is paramount to sustaining the island’s natural environment and its booming tourist industry. As a result, Vanuatu’s Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources works constantly to ensure that citizens and visitors have access to sufficient quantities of clean water to perform basic functions including drinking, cooking and sanitation.

One obstacle that many island communities face is the lack of freshwater sources available nearby. The island’s Ministry of Water emphasizes providing equitable access to clean water sources for all communities to support public health and promote social and economic development. Vanuatu’s main strategy to access fresh water is through groundwater drilling, which provides the urban areas of Port Vila and Luganville with clean water for daily tasks.

While accessing clean water in one of the country’s large cities may not be difficult, a major concern lies in providing rural communities with clean water. One way that Vanuatu addresses this concern is through the use of smaller hand pumps in rural areas as an alternative to groundwater drilling machinery. Another effective method is rainwater catchments which are slightly less reliable and require monitoring of weather patterns.

Perhaps the most important concern for the island country of Vanuatu is the fragile and limited nature of their freshwater sources. As a precaution, water resource officers patrol rivers and other water sources and monitor the river flow to predict droughts or flooding. Water resource employees also conduct water quality testing to ensure that the local and visiting populations are protected from water-borne diseases that plague the area such as scabies, skin diseases and malaria.

Water quality in Vanuatu is constantly and effectively monitored by the government and natural resource employees to ensure that the island’s biggest asset, its natural beauty, remains intact. The island community’s continuous prioritization of water control and resource preservation is extremely effective to combat the issues that many water-locked areas face.

Sarah Coiro

Photo: Flickr