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Water resources management

Marshall Islands

The Marshall Islands is an atoll nation with a population of around 53,000 (2011 census), about half of whom live on the main island of Majuro. With limited groundwater supplies, the islands rely heavily on rainfall for their freshwater. Drought is therefore a major threat to water security. The low-lying islands are also highly vulnerable to rising sea level, storm surges, and flooding.

Reservoir renovation on Majuro
Marshalls-webTo address the key issue of water security, the PACC demonstration project focused on improving the catchment and reservoir system on the main island of Majuro. The island uses its largest paved area – the airport runway – to collect rainwater, and then diverts it to a series of storage tanks where it is treated and piped to communities. However, increasing population and outdated infrastructure, compounded by unpredictable and challenging weather, meant that the system was becoming inadequate.

The new cover reduces evporation

The project carried out a vulnerability and adaptation assessment of the water sector in Majuro, and cost–benefit analysis, to identify the best options for PACC investment. Following recommendations from these analyses, PACC activities focused on repairing the reservoir, including relining the tanks and installing a cover to reduce evaporation.

The renovated reservoir was officially opened on 2 April 2014. The reservoir is now able to hold up to 36.5 million gallons, compared with 31.5 million gallons prior to the improvements. The higher capacity means greater water security for the people of Majuro.

Solar water purifiers for the outer atolls
The PACC demonstration project is benefiting the communities of Majuro, but the other islands are also vulnerable to drought. Witnessing the success in the Nauru PACC project with solar-powered water purifiers, which convert saltwater or contaminated water into clean drinking water, the Marshall Islands PACC team realised that communities on their outer islands could also benefit from this technology. They put in an order to the Australian manufacturers, and 168 units were delivered to health centres on the outer islands and formally commissioned by RMI President Chris Loeak in early June 2014.

Mainstreaming achievements
The PACC project team has also contributed to mainstreaming of climate change into some key strategic documents, including the National Water and Sanitation Policy (endorsed in March 2014), National Climate Change Policy, and the country’s Joint National Action Plan for disaster risk management and climate change. 

New reservoir increases water security on Majuro (4 April 2014)

Nauru success transfers to the Marshall Islands (26 November 2013)
Marshall Islands install bulk meters to enhance adaptive capacity (27 July 2012) 
MOU signed for building resilience to climate change in RMI (15 June 2011)

RMI Office of Environmental Planning and Policy Coordination
Majuro Water and Sewer Company
Marshalls Energy Company

Key Documents

View PDF

PACC Technical Report No. 11 - PACC Demonstration Guide: Improving the public water supply system in Majuro, Marshall Islands alt 
(3 MB)
Presentation at 5th Annual Review Meeting (July 2014) pdf-icon 
PACC Experiences No. 4: Building resilient freshwater systems pdf-icon 
(2 MB)
PACC Technical Report No. 5: Vulnerability and adaptation (V&A) assessment for the
water sector in Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands
Presentation at 4th Annual Review Meeting (August 2013)  pdf-icon
(1 MB)
PACC Country Brief: Republic of the Marshall Islands (July 2012) pdf-icon (593KB)
Report on in-country consultations (29 June 2009)  pdf-icon (152KB)
More publications


Mr Joseph Cain
Office of Environmental Planning 
P.O.Box 975
96960 Majuro
Marshall Islands
Mobile: +692 4561659

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