The population of the Maldives (540,000) is dispersed over 188 islands that do not possess fresh surface water. The freshwater resources of the Maldives are scarce, both in temporal and spatial terms, and mainly available from groundwater aquifers that occur in the porous coral sand from rainfall.
In the past, drinking water was extracted from these shallow aquifers using hand-dug open wells. However, in many inhabited islands of the Maldives fresh groundwater has been depleted, because of salt-water intrusion due to over-extraction. In addition to that, these freshwater resources are vulnerable and susceptible to contamination from land-based human activities. A growing number of the population is now reluctant to use groundwater for drinking or cooking, as the quality has deteriorated.
Sea-level rise and changes in precipitation patterns resulting from climate change have increased the frequency and intensity of flooding events in the country, further affecting the scarce freshwater resources. The Republic of Maldives has identified the establishment of drainage systems in the islands as an effective measure to mitigate and reduce the effects of flooding to preserve the fresh ground water lenses on the island. The development of design criteria and technical specifications for sustainable storm water management systems is therefore needed.
The CTCN will support with the preliminary investigation of storm water and drainage systems, conduct reviews on other regulations, guidelines and polices being used in similar Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and conduct stakeholder meetings to discuss the finalized draft of the Technical Specifications Guideline. Thus, contributing to the establishment of drainage systems to reduce the effects of flooding and preserve fresh ground water lenses in the Maldives.
The objective is to assist with the guidelines needed to develop the design criteria and technical specifications for sustainable storm water management systems. The expected impact is to set a new standard for sustainable development and infrastructure in the islands of the Maldives. This Technical Assistance contributes to the NDC goal and the Maldives Climate Emergency Act to build flood resilient island communities and climate proof infrastructure as well as investing in flood mitigation measures.