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Shortages must be addressed

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 4, 2009) – Water experts say Kiribati must adopt long-terms strategies to lessen the impact of drinking water shortages on its people.

President Anote Tong said last week a shortage of water caused by a drought is approaching disaster levels.

The Australian National University’s Professor Ian White says locals rely on private wells and rainwater tanks in villages, while the major towns have a groundwater pumping system that supplies water up and down the atolls.

He stresses it’s crucial to supply the affected villages with water at the moment, but Kiribati needs to do more.

"The first thing is to find out how much water we have, to make much wider use of rainwater harvesting and addressing the questions of leaks is a really critical issue, there’s no point in pumping water out of the ground and let it leak back to the ground before it reaches the people to consume it," said White. "Educating people about water conservation and protecting water sources."

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s, Being Yeeting, agrees, saying Kiribati must increase its rain water storage.

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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