Vanuatu Environmental Water Quality Assessment

Roughton International funded by the Asian Development Bank and DFAT

Republic of Vanuatu

July 2016 to June 2017

Axiom was engaged by Roughton International to provide specialist water quality monitoring and capacity building services for the PVUDP.

Vanuatu Environmental Water Quality Monitoring

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Fieldwork capacity development with GoV Water Technician Michael Maniel

Axiom was engaged by Roughton International to lead the water quality assessment component of the Port Vila Urban Development Project (PVUDP). This project was funded by  the Asian Development Bank and AUSaid. The scope of work included:

  • Leading the PVUDP water monitoring project in-conjunction with the project’s environment team.
  • Developing the water monitoring parameters and protocols required to undertake this project in conjunction with the PVUDP and GoV water division.
  • Liaise with, capacity build and mentor GoV water division staff in all aspects of water monitoring associated with the PVUDP
  • Leading the PVUDP water monitoring baseline data collection and subsequent data sampling requirements, data analysis and reporting.
  • Undertaking a capacity needs assessment of the GoV water division staff and assessment of their water quality assessment laboratory and
  • Developing and delivering a  capacity improvement strategy.

The monitoring program was designed for freshwater and marine sites in the project’s area of influence. This included a total of 49 monitoring sites. Fieldwork commenced in September 2016 and included recording of GPS coordinates, in-situ chemical analysis measurements, sample location observations and collection of samples for NATA laboratory analysis in Cairns.

Sample collection, storage and transport were coordinated by Axiom with the assistance of PVUDP staff at site. This was necessary to coordinate international freight transfers and quarantine clearances, ensuring wherever possible the samples were delivered to the testing laboratories within the required holding time and temperature limits.

The samples were analysed for a suite of water quality parameters recommended under World Health Organisation (WHO) and ANZECC guidelines for recreational water quality.

The laboratory analysis results were reviewed and specialist commentary provided by Axiom Water Technologies for inclusion in progressive assessment reports. Field data was shared and collated within the project team to enable consolidated reporting.

Water technicians from the Vanuatu Government Division of Water Resources were actively involved in the planning and delivery of the project’s fieldwork activities. This increased their knowledge and skills in fieldwork processes, sample preparation processes, Chain of Custody requirements for sample transport and good practice for calibration and use of field instrumentation.

A structured capacity assessment was performed on the DoWR water laboratory and staff based on NATA audit processes. The assessment was used to understand the resource and skills status and document a development strategy to address improvement needs. The capacity assessment report was prepared and submitted for review however the program was terminated by the donors before the next steps were implemented.


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