IUCN Oceania celebrated this year’s World Water Day with its partners in Fiji and Samoa. Samoa launched its national campaign with the theme ‘Clean Water for a Healthy Samoa’ aimed to address challenges and solutions to achieving clean water and enhancing awareness on the linkages between the quality of water resources and drinking water.
Science students were invited to attend the launch and participate in the hands on Water Quality Monitoring activity, facilitated through partnership of key agencies such as the Water Resource Division, Ministry of Health and the Samoa Water Authority. These agencies also provided brief presentations on their roles in ensuring that quality drinking water is available for public consumption. Other activities for the week long campaign involved: tree planting events to signify the value of trees and forests in regulating and maintaining good quality water and; a mass media awareness campaign including t.v. advertisements, talk-back shows and two public buses that werepainted with the theme ‘sustainable integrated water resources management’.
In Fiji celebrations were delayed a week due to Hurricane Tomas. The national celebration was launched in Nadi on Friday March 26th and led by the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission’s (SOPAC) Water Programme in partnership with Live and Learn Environment Education. The Econesian Society also launched its own event at the University of the South Pacific in collaboration with the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development.
With funding from Taiwan (Republic of China), SOPAC and Live and Learn provided participants (mainly school students and community representatives) with user friendly water quality awareness packs to ensure better understanding of, and how they can improve water quality by protecting and sustainably managing water and water ways. These awareness packs were also sent to other Pacific Island countries.
At USP’s Laucala campus, the Econesian Society highlighted water related issues and emphasized the importance of saving water. The event was launched with the theme ‘Turn it Off’ and ‘Keep it Off’ . Apart from display and information booths setup on site, a survey was to be conducted to find out how water conscious university students and staff really are? This is all part of their ongoing campaign to highlight the importance of Water and Water Resources.
IUCN Oceania will continue to support its partners and members in the region in raising the importance of protecting forests, mangroves and the restoration of river ecosystems to maintain and improve water quality.