In December of 2016, the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) granted $800K to the Republic of Palau to help build resilience to extreme drought events. The funding was received after Palau faced one of the most severe droughts ever in its recorded history, both in terms of duration and intensity.  Of the two main water sources supplying the population centers of Koror and Airai States, one went dry and had to be shut down, while the other experienced a reduction in water production by 87%.

The funded project, “Increasing Palau’s resilience to extreme drought events:  Taking action for long-term adaptation to the impacts of climate change”, is being coordinated Energy Grants Coordinator, Mr. Tutii Chilton, from the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Industries & Commerce (MPIIC).  The main goal of this project is to build Palau’s resilience to extreme drought events.  With projections for more extreme weather events resulting from climate change, Palau must focus on adapting to those expected changes.  This work will help Palau build its resilience to future drought events.  The goal of this project falls in line with Palau’s Climate Change Policy, which calls for safe, resilient and disaster-prepared communities in Palau.

The project is now underway, and the first action will be finding and developing additional water sources for rural areas.  A feasibility study will be conducted to assess additional water sources and provide implementable recommendations for developing those water sources.  These recommendations will be carried out in the second part of the project.  The feasibility study will guide the development of new water sources, some of which will serve as pilots systems.

This is not the first grant awarded to Palau by the Italian Government to mitigate climate change effects. In 2015, Italy donated $300k to fund the project “Establishment of the First Nationwide Sanctuary in Palau: A long-term adaptation response to the impacts of Climate Change on Marine Ecosystem”.  These two, generous grants demonstrate the Government of Italy’s continued support. As global temperatures continue to rise these grants are imperative to improve Palau’s capacity to combat climate change related events.