The resource efficiency programme for the Seychelles water sector (REPSWS), supported by the European Union, is an accompanying measure to a major water & wastewater investment programme funded by the European Investment Back and Agenct Francaise de Developpement, working with the Seychelles Public Utilities Corporation (PUC). It addressed three key challenges in the Seychelles water sector:
The PUC recognised the need to move towards a proactive approach to water planning and water security. REPSWS therefore sort to move decision making on future risk management onto an evidence based, forward looking and more resilient foundation.
A water resources planning approach was developed and applied across the main populated islands that included the use of a strategic, integrated water resources planning model. Combined with the REPSWS developed demand projections, this supported the estimaton of supply-demand balances (SDB) of the existing water supply systems to 2030. Where SDB deficits were identified, long lists of potential supply-side options that included run-of-river abstractions, surface water storage, coastal lagoons, groundwater with managed aquifer recharge and desalination plants, were screened. The resulting short lists of preferred options were further assessed, using a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) approach. The MCA frameworks considered cost, supply reliability, climate change adaptability and environmental and social equity.
The results from application of this approach presented a series of recommendations for further investigation of new water resources for the main islands. In addition to this, an important secondary set of recommendations were presented on the need for investment in data collection, with archiving and data management to support future analysis.
REPSWS has demonstrated that the adoption of a water resources planning approach, with the use of appropriate water modelling and planning tools, supports the development of a strategic understanding of water delivery systems. The adoption of this approach, facilitates proactive decision making on where to focus future investment that offers adaptable, reliable and equitable solutions. The framework adopted in Seychelles is readily transferable to other countries facing similar challenges to move their water resources planning onto a more resilient basis.
REPSWS also recommended the parallel development of an enabling water policy and strategy framework. Such a framework should include a strong role for public consultation, and give due consideration to wider issues of water sector resilience, energy efficiency and water demand management.
Implementation of the adopted water resources planning approach, within such a policy and strategy framework, supports the provision of answers to questions related to water security that are based on inputs from science and engineering. This results in investment decisions that deliver robust solutions, but also where to focus additional investment. This is so that in the future, remaining uncertainties associated with these decision can be reduced and the science and engineering "building blocks" are progressively improved going forward, strengthening water policy and strategy implementation.