Water Challenges in the Marshall Islands
Water Challenges in the Marshall Islands
This paper addresses water security for the Republic
of the Marshall Islands (RMI), a remote island country
in the North Pacific. The paper looks at the range of
conditions across the country, including population
distribution, rainfall variability, water resources and
community attitudes.

It is hard to believe that when a community receives in excess of 3000mm/year of rain (almost five times Melbourne’s average annual rainfall) that water could be so precious. Yet that is exactly the situation in the Marshall Islands (RMI), an island country comprising a series of 29 coral atolls and five islands in the Pacific just north of the equator. The islands extend 1150 km north south and 1300 km east-west, about 4100 km from Sydney and 3200 km from Honolulu.

This tiny republic of some 53,000 inhabitants has major water supply challenges, particularly on the two main islands, Majuro (28,000 people in 970 ha at 6.8 people per household) and Ebeye, (10,000 people in 40 ha at 8.4 people per household).

The discussion in this paper focusses primarily on drought management for Majuro, with brief discussions on Ebeye and the outer islands to demonstrate the diversity of approaches.
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