New Caledonia : Developing Sanitation

(The News N° 21 - January 2011)

The development of sanitation is a major issue in New Caledonia. Out of 230,000 inhabitants, only 30,000 are connected to a wastewater treatment plant.

Wastewater treatment is all the more important as the archipelago is surrounded by a lagoon recorded as World Heritage by UNESCO. The local economy substantially relies on the quality of the natural environment through fishing and tourism.

The work to be done in sanitation is estimated at nearly 100 billion Euros by 2038.

One of the recommendations of the meetings held in 2008 was the creation of a collegial body that would be responsible for the sanitation strategy throughout the Territory. It would provide technical and financial support to the Municipalities through the development of common cause mechanisms and an equalization system.

For the establishment of this body, a special Steering Committee was created, which sought support from IOWater, SOGREAHICEA and IDR to analyze possible institutional, legal, technical and financial scenarios.

A first analysis of these scenarios was submitted at the end of 2010. The detailed study of the scenario will be carried out early 2011.

VALE Company

Second largest mining company worldwide, Vale operates in New Caledonia the largest nickel mines in the world.
Mining requires a preparation phase: surveys, drilling, and, in the operation phase, monito - ring and control, inclu ding of groundwater, through the installation of piezometer networks. The evolution of regulations on water monitoring, the nature of work and its complexity, have led managers operating in New Caledonia to entrust IOWater with the training of all the hydrogeologists of the company on knowledge of regulations, monitoring of the construction of piezometers and processing of the collected data.

Two groups of 10 persons were trained onsite at the VALE Company near Noumea in September and October 2010.