Tourism exerts pressure on all types of public infrastructure, but handling increased needs for water supply and sanitation can be particularly challenging given water availability and broader environmental fragility, according to Asian Development Bank (ADB) Pacific Urban Update report released recently.
ADB’s operations in the Pacific including Palau help provide essential services to growing urban populations for water supply, wastewater, and solid waste management.
In the report, it stressed that tourists in Palau spend most of their time in Koror, impacting the sewerage infrastructure that has economic and health-related costs.
“The fragility of Palau’s water system, which largely relies on surface water sources, was well illustrated in early 2016, when the country declared a state of emergency due to drought, which resulted in water shortages and rationing,” it stated.
ADB is working with Palau to implement the Koror-Airai Sanitation Project. With a project amount of $28,66 million, the project is expected to reduce significant public health and associated environmental risks of poor sanitation, as well as creating opportunities to leverage growth in tourism and other sectors. The project will do so by substantially reducing sewage overflows, improving the responsiveness of operators to emergencies, and ensuring that effluent discharged to the environment is properly treated.
A technical assistance on Water and Sanitation Sector Management is also assisting the government and the Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) by providing policy and planning advice for the development and operation of the country’s public water supplies and wastewater systems, the update added.
The technical assistance is also financed by ADB. [/restrict]