TONGA IW R2R Project
The Kingdom of Tonga is a sovereign state and archipelago of 172 coral and volcanic islands, of which 36 are inhabited, spread over 360,000 km2 of territorial seas in the South Pacific. The islands are either volcanic or uplifted coral limestone on a deep pile of sediments of volcanic origin. Tonga has a small population of approx. 100,000, and 70% of these live on the largest island Tongatapu on which Nuku’alofa, the capital, is located. Environmental issues include increasing deforestation for agriculture and settlement, invasive marines species and over fishing.
Tonga is blessed with plentiful rainfall and most water is sourced through rainwater harvesting. Otherwise freshwater is extracted from a thin freshwater lens within the highly porous limestone substrate that is present on some islands. Surface water resources are absent on most islands and when rainwater is scarce the population relies on piped groundwater. There is no centralised reticulated sewerage system in Tonga and communities manage all on-site wastewater systems. Groundwater resources are vulnerable to contamination from poorly constructed and inappropriate sanitation systems as well as agricultural and industrial wastes. Pathogens and excess nutrients make their way into the groundwater and their impact is now being seen in some near shore areas.
There is a range of institutions involved in the delivery and management of water in Tonga. The institutional framework for water resources is robust with a national water committee in existence and water master plans having been completed for the reticulated supply systems and for national water resource development. While substantial gains have been made in the water sector in Tonga, many institutional and governance issues still remain for resolution to protect and sustain the limited water resources of the dispersed islands.
These include lack of enforceable rules and regulatory framework for water management including hazard waste pollution and disposal; lack of clear utility operational structure over a number of islands; the need for clarifying the role of the Ministry of Environment in water conservation; water metering and tariﬀ setting; the need for upgrading the water reticulation infrastructure; and issues of land tenure and land use as they impact on sustaining the quality of the water resource. While there is a reasonable degree of community awareness on issues of water and the environment associated with projects including catchment management, coordination between agencies and sustaining partnerships with key stakeholders has been identified as a major issue to sustainable management of Tonga’s water resources.
The above issues have begun to be addressed through the cross-sectoral planning and management initiatives of the GEF Pacific IWRM Project. Needs still exist and have been identified within a Ridge to Reef context. These include establishing Coastal Zone Managements Plans through identification of critical fisheries habitats and coastal areas at three priority sites in Tonga; increasing donor investment of stress reduction measures and approaches for coordination and; monitoring the eﬀectiveness of stress reduction measures and management models of the IWRM/IWCM Project.
National activities in this component include the development and implementation of a PM&E plan for the eco-sanitation compost toilets, sewage lagoons and improved septic systems featuring measures for quantifying inter alia nutrient loads in surrounding environment, effluent quality and pathogen survival in compost. To support this will be the development of a database for existing and new information regarding the effectiveness of different sanitation treatment options and potential impacts on the environment this will be made available online and publicly. National activities will also include the development of locally appropriate design and management of eco-sanitation systems through targeted scientific research into composting mechanisms, contaminant reductions and optimal operating conditions to enhance system efficacy. Specific outcome from national level activities from this component include:
|Outcome 1.1||Improved data collection for monitoring effectiveness of improved sanitation systems for environmental stress reduction|
|Outcome 1.2||Enhanced knowledge base for decision making by agencies and communities on appropriate sanitation treatment systems in low-lying island setting|
|Outcome 1.3||Evidence based replication of eco-sanitation through optimal design and operation of systems to meet international standards for water safety and use of human compost in Tonga|
In this component, financing options will be identified and featuring procedures for appropriate and timely accessing of funds. To support this innovative participatory techniques will be used to increase the proportion of target community members with awareness of and technical skills to successfully plan and manage local waste management initiatives will be increased by 30%. Operational partnerships with the GEF Small Grants Programme and international donors will be established to strengthen capacity for replication of the IWCM/IWRM model nationally and implementation of management activities locally. National activities will also include replication of improved sanitation systems in Tonga resulting in reduction in nutrient and pathogen loads from effluent discharging directly into the receiving environment. Specific outcomes from national level activities from this component include:
|Outcome 2.1||Enhanced Community and National Capacity on Stress Reduction measures and management model.|
|Outcome 2.2||Community capacity for accessing donor funds strengthened through innovative awareness and training|
|Outcome 2.3||Strengthened national replication of IWCM/IWRM coordination and management planning model|
|Outcome 2.4||Environmental and public health safeguarded via targeted reductions in nutrient and pathogen contamination at coastal sites in Tonga|
National activities in this component will establish an operation fisheries and habitat data collection programme to identify critical areas of fisheries habitats in Tonga. Additionally, an ecosystem processes and coastal health data collection programme will be operational to identify nutrient dynamics, threats from land-based contaminants to coastal waters and impacts on fisheries habitats. To support these will be the establishment of a National Coastal Health Committee (NHLC) to oversee the development of coastal and fisheries management plans. Specific outcome from national level activities from this component include:
|Outcome 3.1||Strengthened information base for planning, monitoring and evaluation of priority coastal management areas in Tonga|
|Outcome 3.2||Enhanced knowledge of linkage between land based pollutants and the status of coastal fisheries habitats |
|Outcome 3.3||Strengthened cross-sectoral coordination in the planning of coastal and fisheries management areas to support sustainable use of in shore fisheries in Tonga|