Safeguarding Vanuatu's Groundwater

UNSW PhD student Philippa Higgins and members of the field team measure drinking water quality parameters on Moso IslandThe UNSW Connected Waters Initiative Research Centre and the University of the South Pacific (USP) are collaborating on research into groundwater resources in the Vanuatu archipelago.

Small Island Developing States like Vanuatu face a multitude of threats to their groundwater resources: climate variability, sea level rise, increasing demand, and contamination from septic systems and industry are all challenges to sustainable water management.

The initial field study in Nov 2018 saw academics from UNSW and USP, water quality staff from the Vanuatu Department of Water Resources, and students from both institutions undertake drinking water quality sample collection and analysis on Efate and its nearshore islands. A workshop on water sampling techniques and analysis allowed the institutions to exchange ideas and methods of good practice.

The UNSW team is expanding the collaboration with a project on the impacts of climate change on island groundwater resources. The project aims to quantify Vanuatu’s groundwater resources and climate-related hazards to safeguard water quality and quantity in the future.  

A/Prof Martin Andersen, Director, Connected Waters Initiative demonstrates water sampling procedures for USP staff and students

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