U.S. Launches Clean Drinking Water Project for Lhaviyani Atoll

The Embassy of the United States of America launched the construction of a new water management system last week in Hinnavaru, Lhaviyani Atoll.  When completed, the system will help ensure safe and high-quality drinking water for 4,700 local islanders.  Reed Aeshliman, Acting Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) at the  U.S. Embassy was joined by Honorable Thoriq Ibrahim, Minister of Environment and Energy and Abdul Matheen Mohamed, State Minister of Environment and Energy.

“The people of Maldives know better than anyone the dangerous effects of climate change in their daily lives,” said U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap.  “As seen in the recent landmark agreement at the Climate Change Summit in Paris, the United States is leading efforts to set global commitments to help island nations like Maldives take effective climate change action.”

This water management system project is funded by USAID and will collect, treat, and distribute a mix of rain and desalinated water and hold a capacity of nearly 2000 cubic meters.  The system will also include and a fully-equipped regional water testing laboratory.

“It is important for local communities to be aware, understand, and give thought to the issue of climate change and adaptation,” said Minister Ibrahim.  “This is what the USAID project is all about.”

USAID is contributing over 89 million MVR ($5.8 million) in partnership with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to design, construct, and manage the water system, while providing another 85 million MVR ($5.5 million) to help island communities increase their awareness and resiliency to the impacts of global climate change on their island environment and fresh water resources.

USAID has provided assistance to Maldives since 2001 with initiatives to help the island nation harness wind power to meet its energy needs, protect coastal reefs, and strengthen civil society and government capacity to provide better services.  Following the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, the United States also allocated $12 million for relief and reconstruction assistance.