From 29 August till 2 September, the Workshop on “Advancing Groundwater Monitoring in Pacific SIDS”, was jointly organized by World Meteorological Organization (WMO), IGRAC, Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP). This workshop in Suva, Fiji, was organised in the framework of the Global Groundwater Monitoring Network (GGMN) programme.
Groundwater Monitoring in SIDS
The workshop brought together regional (ground)water specialists from Pacific islands to review the state of groundwater resources and monitoring in the Pacific SIDS. Around 25 participants attended the training from in total 10 different Pacific SIDS (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu).
The 5-day workshop consisted of the following components:
- Groundwater in SIDS and the importance of groundwater monitoring
- Groundwater monitoring and assessment techniques
- Field work
- Data analysis and interpretations
- Advanced geophysics by Professor Ian Ackworth (University of New South Wales)
The trainings course provided an overview of various monitoring and assessment techniques targeted for small islands. During the field visit participants learned how to install piezometers, work with data loggers and carry out basic water quality field analysis. The field visit also included geophysical investigations using EM34, and electrical resistivity. The next day, the collected data in the field were analysed.
Over the last decade, there has been a significant effort in developing a sustainable level of capacity in Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to monitor and assess the status and trend of their water resources. These efforts aimed at providing water-related information and hazard warnings needed to support social, economic and infrastructural development and environmental protection.
These were also objectives of the Pacific HYCOS (2007-2010), a project managed by SOPAC and implemented in partnership with WMO and UNESCO. One of the project findings was a very poor use of monitoring data to improve efficiency of abstraction and maintain water quality; this despite the fact that most Pacific SIDS (16 out of 19 countries) have high dependency on groundwater. There is a perceived lack of initiative to utilize and report on resources resulting in poor data collection and management jeopardizing future management and sustainability of the resource.
Both SOPAC and the Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP, 2014) have recently highlighted the lack of baseline groundwater assessments and the priority need for establishing basic sustainable yields, monitoring of abstraction, and the development of basic governance structures to support these resources.