The shortage of potable water on some islands in the Maldives has been described as “serious” by the national disaster management centre (NDMC). There are currently 12 islands which have been facing water shortages since mid-February, according to Moosa Ali Kaleyfaan, deputy director general of the NDMC.
The NDMC has supplied 763 tons of water to eight islands, but four more islands [...] are in desperate need of water, he said. “The main reason is it hasn’t rained for a long time it’s the dry season,” said Moosa. “Even more islands are believed to face this problem.” The department of meteorology has forecast the dry season will continue until June .
The NDMC has spent an estimated US$60,000 to supply water to the 12 islands.
“I am very upset with the government because we need water,” said 42-year old Jameela Aboobakuru from Gaafaru. “We ran out of water, so we borrowed water from our brother. When he ran out of water we started buying bottled water imported from Male’.” She said her 12-member family was spending US$22 a day to buy bottled water for drinking and cooking; their daily income, she added, was only US$26.
On another island, Gulhi, Ahmed Ibrahim, the island office assistant director, said islanders had been importing bottles water from the capital as well as in jerry cans. “They are getting water somehow,” he said, “but the island needs a permanent solution to this problem like piped desalinated water.”
Kaleyfaan agreed, saying although water was supplied to the islands from Male’, it was necessary to seek a long-term solution such the installation of a desalination plant on every island. “We are already in the process of installing a desalination plant in a boat, so that in emergencies we can supply water by travelling between islands,” he said.
[...] Almost 100 per cent of islanders use rainwater as the main source of drinking and cooking water. In [the capital] Male, 100 per cent of the population has access to piped desalinated water. After the 2004 tsunami, 38 islands were provided desalination plants by UN that are operated daily or on emergency basis.
Source: Ibrahim Mohamed, Minivan News, 10 Mar 2009