An evaluation mission and exploratory drilling are essential first steps to securing freshwater supplies in the Federated States of Micronesia.
There are over 1.5 million people in the Pacific Island countries (PICs), not counting Papua New Guinea . About 75% live in rural areas with a subsistence life style. Land tenure, ownership succession, family and village politics are generally unique to each country or even to each island or group of islands within a country. Theses cultural and political dimensions have implications when water resources are to be developed. Many of the PICs have special political and economic relations with developed countries: the ex-US Trust Territories with the USA and many of the South Pacific island countries with Australia and New Zealand. The UK and France also have special interests in the PICs. As a result, the per capita aid that the PICs receive is the highest in the world.
There is an increasing demand for adequate water supply and sanitation in the growing urban areas in the region and for dependable and safe rural water supply. The problem of availability of water resources is much greater in atolls, where in most places rainfall is low and seasonal and there are no natural storage possibilities. In the volcanic islands, where rainfall is plentiful, there are problems to maintain and adequately operate water supply systems that were built by external support agencies.
DESA in collaboration with UNDP and UNCDF has provided finance technical support for water supply and sanitation projects in the least developed islands through a regional project in the early 1990ís and currently through specific support to the outer islands of Kiribati and with government trust funds to the Federated States of Micronesia.
At the request of the Office of Planning and Statistics of the Federated States of Micronesia and the Asian Development Bank evaluation mission, the project will continue to provide support (from former DESA project MIC/91/007) to the Programme Management Unit of the Federated States of Micronesia, to effect a transition to full implementation of the ADB loan which will support the state utility corporation in the capital centres of several islands. Also to assist in the execution of advance drilling works for the states of Chuuk and Yap.