The challenge of providing reliable sewerage infrastructure in developing countries such as Kiribati is immense. Budgets come mainly from aid money, with design usually carried out by ex-pat engineers sourced worldwide. Funds are limited, and often some reduction of scope is required to fit the available funds.
While many robust schemes have been built in various countries, assets often suffer gradual deterioration. Money for maintenance and upkeep is expected to come from country’s internal budgets, but the funds are often inadequate to maintain the assets, and local staff sometimes lack the knowledge required to maintain treatment standards.
A sewerage scheme built in South Tarawa, Kiribati in 1985 required repair/rebuilding in 2003, and now requires further substantial work to restore functionality after deterioration and damage by wave action.
Recently, bids were called for the rehabilitation of sewerage systems and ocean outfalls replacement. Following review of bids received, experience is shared relating to the particular requirements, trials and challenges to providing sewerage infrastructure in developing countries.
Comment is made on how these observations could be applied to New Zealand. Further comments are provided on observations with respect to sea level rise facing Kiribati and whether we in New Zealand are adequately acknowledging and addressing this issue!