The impacts of climate change, particularly sea-level rise (SLR) and pronounced droughts have severe consequences on water and sanitation in the Solomon Islands. Due to SLR, low-lying islands, atolls and flat deltaic regions are faced with salt water intrusion, affecting the groundwater resources and limiting access to freshwater supply. Droughts have severely affected water supplies; during the 1997/1998 droughts that resulted in reduction of freshwater availability in the capital city of Honiara by around 30-40%. Droughts have also damaged crops and livelihoods. Likewise, climate-related impacts on the quality and quantity of water has a gender dimension; in the context of the ethnic tensions, the safety and security of women and girls are compromised as they need to travel further to collect water, also leading to less time for other activities.
In this context, Government of the Solomon Islands, Ministries of Mines, Energy, and Rural Electrification (MMERE), in partnership with Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM), Ministry of Health and Medical Services – Environmental Health Division, and UNDP has embarked on the Solomon Islands Water Sector Adaptation Project (SIWSAP) through support from GEF LDCF. The project objective is to improve the resilience of water resources to the impacts climate change and improve health, sanitation and quality of life, so that livelihoods can be enhanced and sustained in the targeted vulnerable areas. SIWSAP has been working with partners to achieve this objective through 1) Water Sector – Climate Change Adaptation Response Plans formulated, integrated and mainstreamed in water sector-related and in broader policy and development frameworks, 2) increasing the reliability and improving the quality of water supply in targeted areas, 3) investing in cost-effective and adaptive water management interventions and technology transfer, and 4) improving governance and knowledge management for climate change adaptation in the water sector at the local and national levels.
To date, the project has implemented and propose to implement the following activities under each of the respective outcomes:
Duties and Responsibilities
Outcome 1: Water Sector – Climate Change Adaptation Response Plans (WS-CCAR)
SIWSAP has fielded a six member consultant team (consisting of the Team Leader, Water and Sanitation Specialist, Gender and Livelihood Specialist, Climate Scientist, GIS Specialist and the Cost Benefit Analysis Specialist) to undertake the Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment (CCVA) in the second half of 2015. This work is important in facilitating the process for the development of the Water Sector-Climate Change Adaptation Response Plans (WS-CCARP). The CCVA, which is a risk assessment planning tool that captures exposure, hazards, sensitivity and existing adaptive capacity of all pilot sites is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2016. The formation of specific pilot sites WS-CCARP will be guided by the key findings and recommendations of the CCVA. The WS-CCARP is a key document under SIWSAP which not only demonstrate adaptation planning and response needs (actions-on-the-ground) at the pilot site level, but will also demonstrate how additional‘ activities in the water sector are required to future proof natural and built water storage and reserves for many different sectoral needs. It is envisaged that the WS-CCARP will be finalized by mid-2016.
Outcome 2: Improved quality of water supply in targeted areas
The project through support from a joint team of Water Resources Division’s (WRD) officials, Ministry of Mines, Energy and Rural Electrification (MMERE) with Provincial Officers (PO) of the SIWSAP has successfully completed the technical assessments of water sources in each of the pilot sites (6). Key recommendations alluded to immediate/urgent improvement to rain water harvesting (including water capture devices and storage tanks), hand dug wells and springs/surface water resources. Information gathered were used to quantify materials required to address water sources and infrastructures in the six pilot sites. Construction works were outsourced to private firms through an open competitive process in line with the RWASH Policy. All construction works are expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2016.
The project is also purchasing an Early Warning Systems (EWSs) and a ground water survey equipment (inclusive of data loggers and tough books) through a direct contract with the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric (NIWA) Research in New Zealand. The EWSs are essential in providing timely information to trigger appropriate action by communities during disasters and to assist communities/townships cope with water constraints situations. A strong training component on how to operate, manage and use information generated from these equipment will be facilitated through close collaboration with key partners at national, provincial and community level. Similarly, the ground water survey equipment currently been purchased by SIWSAP will help the project, key partners and beneficiaries better understand groundwater characteristics. Such information is useful in informing decision making on water collective management, particularly if ground water can be considered a source of fresh water in any of the pilot sites. Once these equipment are mobilized, specific assessments will be carried out on ground water in the pilot sites to inform future interventions. Current and future efforts under this outcome hinges on both hardware (equipment, materials etc) and software (governance structures, O&M etc) in order to enhance the resilience of communities in the management of water resources.
Outcome 2 will in future implement the WS-CCARP at a series of pilot sites focusing on supporting interventions that enhance existing water resilience such as diversification of water sources; protection and restoration of ecosystems that protect critical water resources; improvements in water-use efficiency and overall demand-side management; use of innovative instruments; building on traditional knowledge; protection of freshwater lens through better sanitation practices in small islands (e.g., composting toilets).
Outcome 3: Cost-effective and adaptive water management interventions and technology transfer
Outcome 3 will also support the implementation of WS-CCAR Plans in pilot sites, but focusing on investing in additional cost-effective adaptive water management and technology transfer. Strategic investments will be made in water infrastructure in target areas, including but not limited to: new household and communal water storage systems and infrastructure; design and construction of applicable small-scale climate-resilient reservoir in at least 1 site; provision of up to 4 portable water filtration and/or desalination systems for sharing across communities in times of extreme water scarcity. These interventions will be coupled with training and learning activities at the pilot sites to facilitate good maintenance and system sustainability, which is a crucial aspect of successful implementation and use of the climate adaptive water investments.
As part of the quick fixes identified during the technical assessments carried out in the second half of 2015 in the six pilot sites under outcome 2, the project has so far supported communities/townships with additional Communal Water Storage Systems (water tanks) and hand dug wells. These were crucial in enhancing the resilience of communities/townships during water stress periods. Future interventions in the pilot sites as previously mentioned will be guided by the WS-CCARP.
The project has also procured water filtration/desalination equipment to be piloted in the various remote sites. Essentially, these equipment will provide water security at community and provincial level during disaster relief periods. In addition to these hardware, a set of man pack series transceiver (HF radios) have been purchased for each of the pilot sites. These man pack systems will provide a reliable means of communication for remote communities in times of disaster when normal telecommunication infrastructures failed to work. These equipment will be deployed to the pilot sites once they arrived in country. Various training will need to be carried out with beneficiaries on the operations and maintenance of these equipment in coming months/years.
Outcome 4: Improved governance and knowledge management for Climate Change Adaptation (CCA)
Outcome 4 focuses on improving governance and knowledge management for CCA in the water sector at the local and national levels.
A Climate Scientist (SC) joined SIWSAP in late 2015 as part of the CCVA team. A key responsibility of this consultant is to produce a report on a systematic review and analyses of all available scenarios of rainfall, temperature and winds/storms, and will assess/quantify the confidence/likelihood of projected changes. Information such as this will contribute to empower stakeholders/partners so they can better understand current and predicted climate change impacts on water resources. This study where possible will inform the implementation of the National Water Resources and Sanitation Policy and ensure that climate change is integrated within national and local level water sector policies.
SIWSAP has also embarked on building the necessary ground work through collaboration and collation of relevant materials/resources from key stakeholders/partners doing similar work locally and internationally. This process is vital as it will guide and inform the development of advocacy/promotional materials for SIWSAP in 2016 using best practices and lessons learnt from other projects. SIWSAP has also engaged an international consultant to develop the project’s Communication Strategy. A bulk of activities under this outcome in terms of facilitating exchange programs, peer to peer networking, finalising awareness materials on climate change risks and vulnerability of water sector, development of a National Diploma Course/Program for the Solomon Islands National University, planning and rolling out of the National Water and Adaptation Forum etc are planned for 2016 and 2017.
The project has been running for almost 20 months and at this juncture, the project is looking for a technical specialist to provide technical support to both the project and key government partners and at the end of the four years implementation of the project, the Government of Solomon Island will have enhanced systems, tools, and knowledge for water resource resilience at the national and local levels, which will contribute to the implementation and achievement of national priorities outlined in various policies and strategies, including the National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) 2008, National Development Strategy (NDS) 2011 – 2020, National Water and Sanitation Sector Plan (2007).
- Demonstrates integrity by demonstrating positive values and ethical standards through his/her actions;
- Promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of SIWSAP project;
- Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
- Treats all people fairly without favouritism;
- Ability to assess community capacity, and formulate proposals to foster positive change;
- Analytical judgment, results-orientation and efficiency in a multi-tasking environment;
- Shares information, knowledge and experience through effective and frequent communication;
- Experience and technical understanding on development context and issues in the Pacific/Solomon Islands/LDCs with a particular focus on water and sanitation and/or climate change adaptation;
- Ability to plan and prioritize work effectively in order to keep deadlines;
- Ability to engage various partners and stakeholders and builds strong relationships with clients and other stakeholders;
- Ability to work in an organized and systematic manner and demonstrate professionalism with high level of integrity in the day-to-day performance of duty;
- Good inter-personal and teamwork skills, networking aptitude, ability to work in multicultural environment;
- Consistently approaches work with energy and a positive, constructive attitude;
- Demonstrates openness to change and ability to manage complexities.
- Demonstrates strong commitment and patience to deal with competing deadlines, demands, and interests
- Ability to build consensus and garner support under complex situations
- Remains calm, in control and good humoured even under pressure
- Exudes a friendly atmosphere where colleagues/counterparts can easily ask questions and seek assistance
Required Skills and Experience
- University degree (at least Bachelor’s degree or equivalent) in the area of civil and/or environmental engineering, integrated water resource management, natural resource management, community engagement for sustainable development, climate change, water and sanitation, or related fields.
Experience & skills:
- At least 7 years of professional experience in relevant field particularly in ‘Integrated Water Resource Management’;
- Must have at least 5 years of professional experience in the Pacific region or other Island nation contexts;
- Experience working in projects related to climate change adaptation in the water sector;
- Experience in successful project implementation and managementoflarge complex projects, with a clear idea of what “success” means;
- Strong skills in monitoring and evaluation;
- Proven experience drafting technical reports or scientific papers;
- Proven experience in developing consultancy works inthe fields of water and sanitation, water resource management, community engagement and/or climate change mainstreaming;
- Excellent interpersonal skills and works well in a team environment;
- Exposure to different cultures particularly in the pacific region and is culturally sensitive;
- Exposure to multilateral projects with experience of working with international development agencies including UN agencies is a plus;
- Experience of working on GEF/LDCF financed projects is a plus;
- Experience of mentoring/coaching/training for technology and/or skills transfer is a plus.
- Excellent working and written knowledge of English.