15 Mar 2007

Drought worsens in Marshall Islands

7:52 am on 15 March 2007

The Marshall Islands national disaster committee has asked the government to declare an emergency that will release disaster aid funding to improve the public¹s access to water

At the moment, the capital, Majuro, has less than seven days supply of water in its main resevoir and residents receive water just two days per week, on Monday and Friday mornings and evenings.

That could be reduced to just one day a week if the resevoir's level, presently at 7.5 million gallons drops to 5 million.

Fresh water supplies have dwindled since January with the El Nino weather phenomenon causing an extended drought for a country that depends on rain for about 95 percent of its fresh water

Many of the country's outer islands are also reporting water shortages.

The government¹s patrol boat, normally used for fisheries surveillance has been fitted with an on-board water maker and is standing by to deliver large water containers to remote atolls

Declaration of an emergency would allow the turning on of two reverse osmosis water making machines now

sitting idle in Majuro.