Water: Sustaining Our Lives and Our Culture
Palau enjoys abundant and clean fresh water. Communities throughout Palau take water directly as it rains or from the many twisting streams that course our largest island of Babeldaob. Streams and rivers feed directly to our lagoons and nourish our reefs.
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Modern practices have led to declining water quality and threatened our very existence. Poorly planned development and unsustainable practices degrade water by introducing sediment, excess nutrients, and other pollutants. Global threats, such as climate change, have brought severe droughts that also threatened people and our plants and animals. Babeldaob’s five mountainous watersheds cross multiple state boundaries, creating a labyrinth of challenges.
PCS Coordinates Partnerships to Protect Water
PCS coordinates a passionate grassroots initiative called the Belau Watershed Alliance (BWA) that seeks to ensure cross-boundary cooperation to protect water. The BWA was initiated by state governments that realized that watersheds don’t follow state boundaries, so solutions to ensure water quality and quantity must also transcend political boundaries. The BWA consists of a Steering Committee, with representatives from each member state, and a technical committee composed of environmental agency representatives. PCS coordinates activities and provides technical expertise. Key activities of the BWA include management planning for protected areas, land use planning, development of policies that protect water, and small-scale projects to reduce threats to water quality.
PCS’s Policy and Planning program is providing technical assistance for land use planning in three states in Babeldaob. Land use planning is building in zones and policies to ensure and protect water.
Learn more about PCS’s Policy and Planning Program and our land use planning projects.
Several of Palau’s conservation areas were established to protect watersheds and water sources. PCS is assisting community-based planning teams to develop comprehensive management plans for these protected areas. Learn more.