Political turmoil and lack of cash challenging supply of drinking water to islands

Islands are hoping for a reprieve to water shortages as the dry season ends, while political turmoil stalls drinking water supply projects.

The Maldives’ Disaster Management Centre has said long-term strategies are being developed to address ongoing drinking water shortages affecting 117 inhabited islands this year alone. The focus comes as some local authorities raise concerns over the level of financial support set aside to assist with dwindling water supplies.

Disaster Management Centre Project Officer Hisan Hassan told Minivan News that in just a “short space of time”, the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) had moved to refill public water tanks on 86 of the 117 islands that have raised concerns over water availability.

Local authorities in Addu Atoll have said that as the country’s “dry season” – resulting from the north-east monsoon – draws to an end for this year, heavier rainfall is expected to partly alleviate short-term pressures on island water supplies. However, the same authorities stressed that finance remains a key challenge to ensure water demand can be met in the future through projects like desalination plants and collection tanks.

Looking beyond the drinking water shortages that have arisen during the first four months of 2012, Hisan Hassan claimed a cabinet paper was now being prepared to outline longer-term measures for managing water supplies across the country. He said that the paper focuses on dividing the country into seven administrative regions that would take a more localised approach to shore up water supplies. An emergency operation had already been established to collect information from local islands on the current scale of water supply issues as part of this new focus, according to Hassan.

With a further 13 islands said to be facing uncertainty over their remaining reserves of drinkable water, the Disaster Management Centre said budgetary issues were a strong concern in dealing with possible demand surplus.

Hassan said that with the the country’s south-west monsoon wet season commencing this month, heavier rainfall was expected to be seen in the next few days on a number of islands dealing with low water supplies.

“Met Office predictions have suggested we will see heavy rain in the country’s north and south atolls,” he said. “We do not have confirmed information on this, so we will checking these weather patterns to see if the rain will replenish supplies.”

Minivan News reported last month that in the country’s southerly Addu Atoll, an estimated 90 percent of the local population were reliant on rainfall to bolster their drinking water supplies. Numerous islands in the atoll are said to experience severe supply issues for drinking water annually as a result.

Tsunami impact

Hisan Hassan claimed that the issue of island water supplies had been an ongoing problem for the Maldives since 2004, when a large number of islands were affected by the December 26 tsunami that devastated the wider South Asia region.

“What has happened was that after the tsunami in 2004, 80 percent of islands including the country’s resort properties were flooded with salt water,” he said. “This salt water contaminated ground water, which is the main source of drinking water for many islands.”

From a meteorological perspective, Met Office Deputy Director General Ali Shareef said that the levels of rainfall during the first four months of the current year had been below the national average for the period.

Though unwilling to speculate whether the patterns were part of a trend, Shareef claimed that similar below average rainfall had been recorded over the same period of time in both 2011 and 2010. He added that temperature – another issue likely to impact water consumption – was found to have been consistent in recent years.

The Met Office said the issue of rainfall was just one of a number of factors that had compounded water supply issues of late.

With a growing national population, Shareef said he believed that another concern was over the capacity of the nation’s water collection tanks, which he contended were increasingly struggling to meet demand.

“The water shortages are not completely based on the amount of rain. This year’s [average] rainfall is just about higher than in 2011,” he said. “We may also need to look at how consumers in the country are using their water supplies.”

Addu Atoll is one area that has experienced ongoing problems with maintaining drinking water levels. A number of islands in the atoll such as Feydhoo and Hithadhoo have requested assistance in boosting their supplies.

Addu City Mayor Abdulla Sodig said that in addressing these concerns, some local resort properties, as well as the MNDF’s southern command had been “very supportive” during the last few years in helping to maintain water supplies to the region.

“The MNDF have been very supportive since day one. We have also been getting support from certain resorts that have actually been supplying free water,” he said.

According to Sodig, with the 2012 dry season now having officially passed, an anticipated increase in rainfall was expected to alleviate present concerns about water levels.

“We’re getting enough rain now and I think the problems [with water supplies] will be solved for the moment,” he added.

Looking ahead to the next year, Sodig claimed financial support was proving to be the key challenge in ensuring sufficient supplies of drinking water to the public.

“The regional port here for example has a desalination plant that can distribute water. The MNDF also has one as well, though this is smaller in capacity,” he said. “There are enough desalination plants here to produce water, so the challenge remains a financial one. At present we are buying water from desalination plants at Rf90 per tonne (US$6).”

Sodig alleged that despite providing financial support back in 2009 and 2010 to aid water supply efforts , the Disaster Management Centre had not been providing as much economic assistance of late.

He added that last year, the government had initiated a multi-million dollar water management and sanitation project in collaboration with a foreign infrastructure specialist.

According to Sodig, the potential benefits of the project are expected to be seen in the next few months through the provision of water supplies directly to homes on the island of Hithadoo.

He raised concerns about the long-term viability of the part government-funded project, due in part to political uncertainty following the controversial transfer of power on February 7.

“Right now the project is trying to get a loan from a UK-based company,” he claimed. “However, this has been withheld due to the political situation here.  The loan will not be handed over until elections are held.”

Asked about the challenges facing the government in addressing the country’s water supply shortages, President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad requested Minivan News contact the local water board.

“If you were in another country, you wouldn’t contact the White House or Buckingham Palace about water shortages,” he said.


30 thoughts on “Political turmoil and lack of cash challenging supply of drinking water to islands”

  1. "Asked about the challenges facing the government in addressing the country’s water supply shortages, President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad requested Minivan News contact the local water board.

    “If you were in another country, you wouldn’t contact the White House or Buckingham Palace about water shortages,” he said."

    Wow. The 'Media Secretary" could use some media skills right there.

    Good article, btw. I've been hearing about the scarce water situation from a couple of islands myself.

  2. “If you were in another country, you wouldn’t contact the White House or Buckingham Palace about water shortages,” he said.

    A brilliant answer. Given that 117 of the 200 islands face water shortages. Ruder Finn has a much bigger job than anticipated.

  3. Maldives water problems are a world apart from the water problems of the country the author of this article may belong to.

    Could the author’s country of origin put in place viable and sustainable desalination plants or another free-standing clean water generating system - one for every 800 or so citizens?

    Maldivian problem is more holistic. We’ve used ground water for centuries and is the key to life on the islands. It is the introduction of unregulated sewage systems – hundreds of them releasing untreated sewage directly to the water table that is the core problem. Not some current political and cash problem…

  4. A taste of the zionist blocakde as it affects the denizens of Ghaza. How wretched is their condition!

    This story does not evoke pity from me. Rather I wonder if this is our well deserved punishment for ignoring the woes of our brothers in the Levant!

    Do not think of ourselves hence. Think of Palestine. Perhaps then, God may deign to have mercy on us! Alhamdulillaah!

  5. “If you were in another country, you wouldn’t contact the White House or Buckingham Palace about water shortages”

    Oh dear! Shame that the media secretary lacks even the most elementary skills. Firstly, a free history lesson to Mr Imad. Buckingham Palace has not political significance. Queen Victoria started using it as the official residence of the British Monarch.

    Right, now that we've sorted that one out, what would be the equivalent of The White House? Probably No. 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the British Prime Minister. It's quite likely that in matters of national importance, questions will get fielded to No. 10 Downing Street and it will most likely be responded by something more intelligent than the splutterings from Mr Imad.

    Lastly, Mr. Imad you're an arrogant fool!

  6. JJ Robinson, Editor
    Neil Merrett, Media Consultant
    Ahmed Nazeer, Journalist

    Media consultant and Editor of this paper are foreign, Im assuming they are british as well. So much for unbiased, Am pro MDP but this is terrifying, your grip on our country and a large portion of our ways of independent dictator free thinking,

  7. As long as the police, govt. army and the resort owners are better off, nothing else matters!


  8. Actually, in a water crisis in Bitain, they do go straight to the Prime Minister and 10 Downing Street and demand an answer and explanation. The government of the country is responsible for looking after everyone. This is very serious. People can die.

  9. @N

    Another MalDeviant irritated by me when I confront him with the truth.

    You further confirm my belief that MalDeviants are as unrepentant and unvirtuous as the harlots that gave birth to them.

    See how they strut around near coffee houses and clothing stores. Their faces naked. The expression designed to tempt men into sin and debauchery.

    Do they not know that a house in Ghaza is demolished between every flutterring of their lascivious eyes?

    Do they not know that a Palestinian child is raped between every shameless giggle?

    Do they not think of the poor Palestinian woman, destitute and hopeless, when they put on their lipstick and eyeliner?

    Remember, foolish boy, that you will answer to your creator for shutting off your ears to the cries of our brothers in faith in Palestine.

    You have sided with the zioniest oppressor. Is it any wonder than that God punishes us. Nominally we are Muslim but we are sinful in conduct. You must ask yourself, MalDeviant, do most of us truly deserve drinking water?

    Shame on you and shame on the harlot that gave birth to you for having raised such a heartless child!

    Fear Allah (swt) and think of Palestine before it is too late! Alhamdulillaah!

  10. minivan news, isn't it time you block this crazy, fear inciting, scary creature called Dhgivehi Hangurama, who probably goes through some sexual pleasure by writing the sort of stuff he rights and fantasizing the reactions to his writings?
    Do we need psychopaths like him in our society?what does hi slast comment mean? if maldivian women stop giggling, palestinian children will not be raped? if maldivian women stop wearing lipstick and eyeliner, palestinian women will not eb destitute? if maldivian women stop blinking then houses in Ghaza will not be demolished?

    I mean seriously Dhivehi haijaanu, isn't it time you comment with substance on the news that is reported instead of deriving carnal pleasure out of the sort of the fear and terror you are spreading amongs the youth who sit and read these articles everyday?

  11. I don't know if there's a misunderstanding here or what. Almost every household in Malé city buys drinking water: Life, TaZa, Bonaqua etc brands.

    Do these companies not supply to the islands? Are we talking about fresh water or drinking water? Fresh water is required for cleaning purposes only.

    In the Maldives, it is unsuitable to drink from the main water supply as it causes a myriad of disorders ranging from skin to kidneys.

  12. Make the rich resort owners pay taxes !
    Income tax on all more than 1 million MRF per year. Gasim and Deen too have to contribute to welfare of common people. Not only the hard work of other commoners.
    Bastards PPM, robbing the country and no money left for even drinking water

  13. @hanguraama
    What have you or in any way or form are you capable of helping them? How can we even think of helping other muslims while our situation is horrible?

    Its because of people like you Islamic Caliphate fell, You hindered growth, education and development, and guess what? A little history lesson here, do you know who betrayed the ottoman empire in ww1? It was the saudis and "radical" muslims, I dont know how much the part of this ummah you are, when you look down on the suffering of brothers around you IN YOUR OWN COUNTRY, you are petty and pathetic in every way or form.

    How dare you accuse others of not lowering their gazes, are you Allah swt himself to know what others think, How dare you pass judgement on other people
    You pathetic fool

  14. Water first.

    For many, this MAY pose an ethical dilemma. It may mean we have to work in harmony even with those we feel (or know) are corrupt, or Extremist Muslim, or secretly anti-Muslim, or treacherous, or hedonistic, or power hungry, or villainous, or prone to vengeance, or weak, or ... We may feel we have an ethical obligation to defy these people, too refuse too co-operate with them.

    At some level, there has to be forgiveness on BOTH sides for there to be meaningful, productive co-operation, justice at the expense of human life is a travesty of justice.

  15. @Mohammed Shiraz! THAT is an excellent point!

    @N: That is an interesting point. Most of the progress, the Civillization in early Islam came through the work of Mutazilites, Asaharites, and neo-Mutazilites, neo-Asharites, who were inspired by and driven by the sentiments of the Quran, yet did not hold fundamentalist, literalist interpretations of it. Amongst other factors, the emergence of the power of the literalists helped bring Islam down, it is too simplistic an analysis too blame the downfall of Muslim power and Advancement on the Mongols, and the extternal enemies.

    Most Maldivians understand this, yet the growth of fundamentalist power is a concern.

  16. @ben plewright
    Islamic empire was quite powerful even after the mongolian invasions, mongolians were not power seeking per say, they were nomadic and had the sole intention of conquering. And Timur the grandson of Gengis khan even converted to Islam, as did a large number of the mongolian army, hence the asian-mongoloid appearance in large portion of khazakistan etc.

    There is no such thing as a literal or fundamental intepretation of the Quran,
    People who are radical choose to ignore parts of it which are for justice forgiveness etc.

    Our downfall was certain individuals who couldnt look past their own "holiness" condemning other muslims, as if they are sent by God to judge,

    And lack of prioritizing, corruption, and the british divide and conquer strategy had largely dismantled what was remaining of the Islamic strong holds which was passed on from the times of the prophet, The power was lost.
    The Saudis and certain "radicals" took power and refused to aid the ottomans, and look what happened to the land as a result, The west placed multiple dictators all over the middle east (shahs in iran (until 1970's), Saudi family, rulers of quwait,qatar, UAE) And
    muslims in the palestinian territory would not have to suffer today if it wasnt for the idiotic uprising of self righteous idiots in the 1910's

    Allah help us all, Amen

  17. @N

    These would be the same Ottomans that put into effect the Tanzimat reforms and decriminalized homosexuality in 1887?

    You lament that the Saudis fought for independence from such Munafiqs? From the same Ottoman empire whose successor state of Turkey is militantly secular and hosts gay parades annually? Nauzu billaah min Zalik! Kaleya halaaku huri!

    Thank you for letting us know where your sentiments like "N". With homosexuals and zionists.

    Woe unto you! Indeed, the likes of you do not deserve drinking water. Not while our brothers and sisters in Palestine are emaciated and destitute.

  18. @N

    These would be the same Ottomans that put into effect the Tanzimat reforms and decriminalized homosexuality in 1858?*

    You lament that the Saudis fought for independence from such Munafiqs? From the same Ottoman empire whose successor state of Turkey is militantly secular and hosts gay parades annually? Nauzu billaah min Zalik! Kaleya halaaku huri!

    Thank you for letting us know where your sentiments lie “N”. With homosexuals and zionists.

    Woe unto you! Indeed, the likes of you do not deserve drinking water. Not while our brothers and sisters in Palestine are emaciated and destitute.

    *Correction, 1858 not 1887. Publish this version.

  19. @ben
    I meant to say that the west was the people who brought the additional jewish settlements into the palestinian territory from europe.
    But there were few jewish communities living in palestinian territory, iraq etc
    PEACEFULLY, because in Islam we are meant to treat our neighbours with respect and with regard, And the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was an example of such.

    But these idiots, while having water for themselves are angry at complaints for water from their own people, their neighbours and brothers and sisters in faith, and fellow human beings

  20. Agree with the comments by Nix Nix. This is a new crazy even for Dhivehi Hanguraama.

    Why is he blaming our women giggling for Palestinian children being raped...on a story about a water crisis in the Maldives? I do not know if he is being serious but if he is, God save us from such psychopaths.

  21. @hanguraama
    Saudis, drink wine, party all over europe from AMERICAN money you idiot,
    Even to this day saudi government are allies of Israel,
    Did you see Saudi arabia taking part in the 6 day war? No
    In recent times has the saudi Government even condemned Israel once? NO
    And did Allah subahaanahu wata-aala send you down to earth to condemn other muslims and call them harlots and calling to garotte them? Yes our society is horrible right now, alcohol, drugs, rape, murder, gangs, promiscuousness,
    But who are YOU
    to call people names,
    O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one's] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.(Quran 49:11)
    Who are YOU to call people harlots and condemn other muslims while Allah subahanahu wata’ ala condemned it.
    Do you grant me water? No
    God does, And muslim brothers and sisters in those Islands need water,
    They are as much part of our ummah as is palestinians,
    Who made you so high and mighty, come down to earth

  22. Oh I am no friend of the Saudi government, boy. As the Ayatu'llah Khomeini, may his name ever be praised, teaches us: Monarchy is un-Islamic.

    But one day, the ulammah will have no use for the Al-Sauds, and insha'allah they will be toppled - just as Shah Pahlavi (may Allah curse him and his descendants) was toppled. Once the Sunni and Shia reconcile the ummah shall be unstoppable. The zionist empire shall crumble to dust.

    But as for our brethren on these islands, they are the same ones that are indulging in the debauchery you describe: drunkardness, murder, rape, promiscuity and atheism.

    Those who do not remember Allah (swt) do not deserve his bounty. Why do these wretched MalDeviants fear dehydration more than they fear the afterlife?

  23. Hanguraama,

    Do you fear the afterlife, Then those people are your neighbours and brothers, and how do you know they are atheists?
    They might have done maybe one good deed in their lives which may be dearer to Allah than anything you or me or anyone has done.
    Who are you to judge,
    And are you really certain that you can condemn them to die in this world and not be questioned in the day of judgement for refusing aid to your neighbours, regardless of their beliefs or actions?

    Even there was an incident in which a sahaabah of prophet peace be upon him, was being disturbed by a jewish neighbour, because the neighbour played some kind of musical instrument at the times which the sahaabah prayed to bother him. but one day the sahaabah did not hear the noise at the prayer time, and He went to Aid his neighbour Who was disturbing his prayers and of all people
    A JEWISH MAN, because turns out the neighbour was sick. And the jewish neighbour also was amazed by the kindness of the muslim man.
    We have to uphold kindness, respect, despite how others behave.
    If we can help, even the worst of sinners when they are in need, If we help them survive they get the rewards.
    But regardless Me or you or anyone else except Allah subabanahu wata'ala CANNOT judge anyone, because they may be dearer to Allah than us,

    And we are supposed to be an example to humanity,
    Islam is the perfect religion, and the religion of kindness, and its our duty to help ANYONE in need,
    and now they are in dire need of water,
    And how are YOU to say they deserved it?
    And people suffering through calamities like drought etc, if they are being patient through it wont their statuses also be raised?
    And if we help them wont we also be blessed by Allah the beneficient and merciful

    Think about it brother, I know you have the correct intentions,
    but have a kind heart, not for any human or anyones approval, but
    for only Allah subabahanahu wata' alas sake

  24. Let this be a lesson for all those who feed the troll known as DH! Ignore the idiot, please!

  25. No worries ... Dr. Imran is pipelining zamzam to Maldives..

  26. @Ahmed bin Addu bin Suvadheeb

    He is no idiot. He is actually a very clever Munafiq who is using reverse psychology on us. I think he is a devout atheist working with Minivannews to defame Islam.

    But you are right. He should be ignored. but giving my 2 cents...


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