The successful installation of a river monitoring station in the Sarakata river in Luganville, Espiritu Santo, Sanma Province, Vanuatu, is a step in the right direction for the establishment and institutionalisation of a Flood Management and early warning system for more than 17,700 residents of the area.

The project was implemented by the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department (VMGD) in collaboration with the Department of Water Resources (DoWR) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Six ground water monitoring stations are also in operation to support planning and decision-making by provincial water advisory committees, Luganville Municipal Council and the Sanma Provincial government.

The new river monitoring station is monitoring the river level, river discharge, rate of rise, rainfall total, rainfall intensities and other parameters in near real-time. Data is recorded every five minutes and communicated via satellite to the VMGD Head office in Port Vila. A public dashboard is available for everyone in Vanuatu and abroad to access the information online. The link to the dashboard is https://bit.ly/3fRFuT1  .

The information gathered from the new stations will increase the capability of both VMGD and DoWR in the establishment and institutionalisation of a Flood Management and early warning system for the Sarakata river.

“The undertaking of monitoring and assessing ground, surface and atmospheric water aims at quarterly reporting on Luganville’s flow regime, flood analysis and drought analysis, and water quality,” said Mr Jonah Taviti, Water Sector Coordinator.

The information will benefit more than 17,700 residents of Luganville (8,965 males and 8,754 females), the second largest town in Vanuatu after Port Vila.  The town has four wards which include the target lowlands of Solwe, Sarakata, Pepsi, Lausvatu and Mango. 

“The new river and groundwater monitoring stations is important to Vanuatu’s National Meteorological (VMGD) and Hydrological Services (DoWR) to support our monitoring and early warning services to the people enshired in the Vanuatu National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP),” said Moirah Matou, VanKIRAP, Project Manager VMGD.

“The training and capacity building we have received from SPREP, and service provider Campbell Scientific Australia has increased our knowledge on how we can provide localized preparedness for our communities.”

Funding for the installation was provided through a partnership between the Green Climate Fund (GCF), SPREP and VMGD through the Vanuatu Climate Information Services for resilient development (Van CISRDP) project or VanKIRAP.

VanKIRAP, as the project is known by its Bislama acronym, is making climate information better, more relevant, and more accessible for people in Vanuatu. The Project supports Vanuatu’s resilient development by increasing the ability of decision-makers, communities and individuals to plan for and respond to the impacts of climate variability and change, using climate information services (CIS).

For more information, please contact Mr. Sunny Kamuta Seuseu, Acting Manager, Vanuatu CISRDP on email [email protected] or telephone +678 5551113.