World Environment Day - Seychelles: Finding Solutions to Water Scarcity

Seychelles: Finding Solutions to Water Scarcity

The Seychelles government adopts a bill that adds rainwater harvesting to national building codes, following the success of a small scale UNEP-UNDP demonstration project in schools.

A Small Island Developing State, the Seychelles faces climate change challenges that include sea-level rise, increases in sea surface temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns, short periods of heavy rainfall during the rainy season and severe droughts during the dry season.

This problem of water scarcity is further compounded by the ever-increasing demand for water, heightened by increased economic and social development along with population growth.

To address this, the country invested heavily in the construction of reservoirs and desalination plants.

This however, only resulted in greater use of fossil fuels and increased related GHG emissions. Specific impacts occurred on school grounds, where a local educational campaign to add vegetation to schoolyards led to an increased demand for water, resulting in high water bills which inturn led to cuts in other areas of school budgets.

At a cost of US$ 125 per teacher, the UNEP-UNDP project for rain water harvesting served to educate approximately 400 teachers and students in seven schools in ecosystem management principles and set in motion measures for rain water harvesting. In addition to greening the schools and the efficient use of water resources, several schools reported savings of up to US$ 250 on water-related expenses. As a result the government decided to mainstream rain water harvesting as an adaptation measure in national development planning.