Find Water and Sanitation expertise in Tuvalu

Rainfall and rainwater harvesting is the primary source of water supply in Tuvalu. In the early 1980s most families took advantage of an aid project for provision of ferro-cement storage tanks attached to small areas of roofing sheets. The tanks had an approximate capacity of 3.6 m³ and were intended only to meet drinking water demands. However once supplied, usage increased and the available water quickly depleted. The majority of islands have wells which are protected by coral stone walls, capped and provided with hand pumps and nearby latrines. Well water is now seldom used for drinking and it is has been observed that during periods of low rainfall the quality can deteriorate, becoming more saline. Groundwater is used for domestic needs in the outer islands and as an emergency supply in times of drought. Over-extraction in 1999 and 2000 resulted in groundwater becoming brackish, and the water level dropped with serious consequences for vegetation. Whilst groundwater is available under the villages on many islands, the extensive use of pit latrines and septic tanks means the water is at considerable risk of contamination and thus its use can lead to disease. On Funafuti groundwater is only used for feeding pigs, washing pig pens and flushing toilets. During droughts its use may also extend to washing clothes, bathing and flushing toilets. Generally all Tuvaluans have access to potable water although it often requires boiling. The Public Works Department is responsible for the distribution of drinking water to households at a cost of $15.00 per 500 gallons. The Waste Management Unit deals with pollution and contamination of water sources.

Water and Sanitation organisations in Tuvalu
Ministry of Works and Energy