Only one out of two Polynesians has access to drinking water. The year 2016 even saw a decline in this proportion... And as for the dilapidated state of the distribution network, it’s responsible for wastage of 80% of captured water.
The communes of Polynesia have until 2024 to take on all the responsibilities related to environmental public services. This is a big challenge, as the needs for investments to supply drinking water (estimated at 18 billion CPF francs, or 150 million euros) exceed their own capacities. AFD is conscious of this challenge and is intensifying its support to communes so that they can carry out their responsibilities in a way that is in coordination and in complementarity with the State.
Security and reliability of the service
Arue is one of the Tahitian communes receiving support. From the beginning of the 2000s, it started up large-scale work to renovate and extend its network for harnessing and distributing drinking water. To do so, it used AFD financial tools on several occasions, with quite convincing results: in 2017, it was one of 10 French Polynesia communes to distribute drinking water to its inhabitants.
The investments Arue has made in recent years have aimed at both securing the drinking water supply for the commune and at attaining a satisfactory level of hygiene by limiting deterioration of water quality during its conveyance in the network. Arue has several current objectives:
- improve the yield of its network, which suffers much leakage (45% water loss);
- decrease the electricity costs linked to the pumping of lost water;
- strengthen the network structuring;
- reduce the large number of repair interventions.
Work to adapt to climate change
Another challenge for the commune is rainwater drainage. This is because increased precipitation has caused flooding on an exceptional scale in Tahiti in recent years. In January 2017, French Polynesia was even declared a natural disaster zone. Arue was not spared: its drainpipes turned out to be too small, and after heavy precipitation in 2016, rainwater that was poorly drained upstream spilled out, damaging roads in the Erima neighborhood. The commune was then obliged to close the road. Temporary repairs were made, but improvement work is now required if Arue is to take up an approach of prevention and resilience.
Planned over six months in 2018, this improvement work includes repairing the rainwater drainage system and making it more reliable, as well as burying overhead wires.
To finance these initiatives, Arue signed two financing agreements with AFD on March 26, 2018, amounting to a total of 2.3 million euros (280 CPF francs). Because the second project has adaptation to climate change as its goal, the commune will be able to try out the “PSP Vert” zero-interest loan, a subsidized loan making it possible to reach interest rates close to zero.