Over MVR6m needed to provide water to 97 islands

The disaster management centre estimates that about MVR6.5 million (US$421,530) will be spent this year to provide clean water to 97 islands due to persisting shortages.

Deputy minister of defence Fathmath Thasneem told the press today that 97 islands have reported water shortages so far this year and the centre has delivered supplies to 76 islands.

The centre is able to provide water within two weeks upon request, she said.

The centre is presently filling community water tanks in eight islands and trying to provide supplies to five other islands, she added.

Thasneem appealed for islands to report shortages before supplies run out and advised communities to boil the supplied water before drinking as health problems have arisen.

The centre provided supplies to 77 islands last year.

Since its inception in 2004 after the Indian Ocean tsunami, which contaminated groundwater in several islands, the centre has been providing water to about 80 of the Maldives’ 188 inhabited islands each dry season for the last ten years.

While islands communities relied on groundwater in the past, consumption in most islands has increased above the rate at which groundwater is naturally replenished, according to the environment ministry, forcing communities to rely on rainwater.

In 2005, the government provided islands with large numbers of storage tanks to store rainwater.

However, with low average rainfall during the dry season, numerous islands are left in a drought every year, forced to rely on the disaster centre for drinking water.