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Climate change, water resources and the future of WASH challenges in Pacific Island Countries

IWC researchers collaborate on navigating from climate change impacts to adaptation opportunities in Pacific Island Countries

Researchers from IWC are working with Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, Water Institute, University of North Carolina and University of Alabama, Water Studies Centre, Monash University, and Advanced Water Management Centre, University of Queensland on a project funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The PACCWASH project (Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change and WASH) tackles climate change adaptation and WASH challenges concurrently. It involves an integrated assessment of water supply, sanitation and hygiene in flood‐prone and atoll communities in the Solomon Islands, the Marshall Islands and Vanuatu.

Dr Wade Hadwen, Principal Investigator on the research project, recently presented at the WASH 2014 Conference in Brisbane. In his presentation he outlined why we need an integrated water management approach to WASH and climate change in Pacific Island Countries (PICs).

“Drinking‐water and sanitation relies on water governance and water resources management, and this is closely linked with climate change in the Pacific islands”. - WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific (2013) 

Linking climate change and WASH through an integrated water management  framework enables assessment of both current and future conditions. This approach is designed to help decision makers make wise decisions in light of both current (non‐climatic) and future (climatic) pressures.

Research approach for PACCWASH

The research aims to understand WASH and climate change in case study areas, and evaluate adaptation opportunities that will build resilience in vulnerable communities.

The approach involves four phases:

  1. Participatory modelling
  2. Conceptual modelling (test and review)
  3. Bayesian belief network (BBN) modelling (test and review)
  4. Scenario testing (test and review)

The elements of this approach were detailed in the presentation, and will be trialled this year through field work in the Solomon Islands. The project team is working in partnership with the Rural Water and Sanitation Section of the Ministry of Health and will undertake research in a number of rural settings.

Download presentation: Climate change, water resources and the future of WASH challenges in Pacific Island Countries


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