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A waterfall in Airai.

Belau Watershed Alliance

Communities working together to protect Belau’s precious resources.

Mission

The Belau Watershed Alliance is to protect, conserve and restore the water resources of Belau through collaborative outreach, education, networking, science information sharing and technical assistance by and for the communities of the island.

Vision

The Belau Watershed Alliance will become a national model for ensuring states have continued access to clean water and healthy habitats and promote environmentally sustainable economic development through collaborative efforts of a diverse array of stakeholders.

History and Function

On June 13, 2006, the Babeldaob Watershed Alliance (BWA) was initiated by the two Babeldaob communities of Ngaremlengui and Melekeok states.  The two communities created the first BWA Steering Committee and tasked the committee to develop the BWA model. With support from technical agencies of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Palau Conservation Society (PCS), committee members attended the Hawaii Watershed Partnership (HAWP) meeting and brought back two watershed partnership models for the committee to review.

On September 22, 2006, the first watershed alliance summit was held at the Ngaremlengui Legislature where legislators from both states discussed the partnership agreement model. The BWA Steering Committee adopted the Kauai Watershed Alliance MOU and tasked the technical support committee to draft a partnership agreement based on the Kauai Watershed Alliance MOU, thus the BWA’s Master Cooperative Agreement (MCA) was developed. The MCA is a non-binding agreement with members agreeing to collaboratively protect their water sources.

On December 15, 2006, the leadership from both states reconvened at the House of Delegates Chamber at the National Capitol and signed the MCA to officiate the alliance. In the MCA, the states also agreed to expand the alliance membership to include all 10 states of Babeldaob. A year later, in November 2007, Ngiwal State joined the alliance as the third member. Realizing that the alliance would need a full-time focal person to coordinate its activities, the alliance once again tasked its supporting agencies of PCS and TNC to fundraise for a coordinator. In February 2008, through efforts of technical committee, PCS was awarded a grant from US Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) to fund the BWA Coordinator. In April of the same year, a coordinator was hired.

In July 2008, Aimeliik joined the alliance building a momentum for the alliance. Since then, Ngardmau, Ngchesar, Ngarchelong, Ngaraard, and Ngatpang have joined, summing it up to 9 out of 10 Babeldaob states.

The third BWA Summit was held on April 20, 2011.  During this Summit, BWA Members agreed to a new 2011-2013 BWA Strategic Plan, and also agreed the change the scope of the BWA from Babeldoab to all of Palau. Thus the BWA became the Belau Watershed Alliance, and membership was opened for all Palauan states.

Each of the member states is represented by governor appointed members that make up the BWA Steering Committee. A 10-Step process and an organizational chart were developed to clarify roles and responsibilities for the technical agencies and members (states).  Each member is supported through each of the 10 steps by the technical committee which has also expanded to include Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC), Belau National Museum (BNM), Forestry – Bureau of Agriculture (BOA), and Environmental Quality Protection Board (EQPB).

The technical committee made up of representatives from each agency plays a critical role in ensuring that each member is guided through each step with well informed and scientifically researched recommendations in crafting policies, regulations and management plans to abate existing and anticipated threats to their natural resources and ecosystems.

Visit our Resources Page to download BWA documents, including the 2011-2013 Strategic Plan and MCA.