Project Update: Development of a Water Master Plan for Mauritius

In August 2010 a consortium composed of LTS, Niras and Mega Designs was awarded a contract to develop a water master plan for Mauritius.

The 7 month project was completed in March 2011  and the strategy developed has a firm footing based on water supply development and water management, but goes on to address the future water-energy security of the country as well the need to maintain a dynamic economy through inter sectoral water allocation.

Mauritius has very limited natural resources, but through its diversified economy it has achieved sustained growth and enhanced human well-being. Water is one of the few valuable natural resources in Mauritius and is vital in meeting the changing needs of the economy as well as the people. Whilst water is generally in plentiful supply, seasonal deficits and requirements to meet the needs of the economy have called for a Water Master Plan to be developed. LTS were asked to support the legal component of the Master Plan and in particular to examine the existing water law which dates back to 1863 and to determine how this historic means of water allocation could be brought up to date. The legal analysis indicates that water rights can be reformed on the basis of the historic Act. However, some procedural changes to the law are necessary. A water rights reform programme was designed to enable the government to modernise and rationalise the management of water allocation. This programme starts with a formal census of all existing water rights and a regulation has been passed to enable the census to be conducted. In addition, LTS were asked to develop a “future water strategy” to challenge present thinking and offer a future vision for water management in Mauritius.

Development of a Water Master Plan

Mauritius has a diversified economy which relies on efficiently managed water resources and the growing scarcity of water resources calls for revisiting the existing riparian system of water rights. The project will prepare a Water Master Plan that serves as a road map for the further development of Mauritius water to help government achieve its objective to provide reliable potable water supply on a 24 hour basis all year round. LTS will support the component for the Rationalization of Water Rights and institutional arrangements within the water sector through the provision of a detailed review and analysis of existing water legislation and the development of legal frameworks for water allocation mechanisms. An assessment of the feasibility of implementing a licensing system for water allocation will be provided along with proposals for sharing of river flow.

Regional Climate Change Programme

Southern Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate related challenges. As part of an ongoing effort to help minimize the risks associated with climate change, DFID has been supporting adaptation efforts in the region. In 2007/08 LTS, together with our regional partner OneWorld, conducted a 5-country feasibility study to clarify the role DFID should play to help southern Africa respond to the challenge of climate change. LTS identified key risks and vulnerabilities in the region, reviewed the anticipated impacts climate change and determined at what resolution biophysical information is needed to inform a) a robust regional programme and b) allow for effective monitoring of climate change progress and effectiveness of responses. It also concluded that a Regional Climate Change programme (RCCP) for Southern Africa (SADC region) could enhance adaptation to climate change, thus contributing towards poverty reduction. Subsequently, DFID approved funding a RCCP designed “to enable transboundary adaptation to climate change, with equitable access to climate funding, in southern Africa”. This programme, with funds managed by OneWorld and technical assistance supported by LTS and a number of South African Partners, was designed to promote capacity building and advisory support to the SADC region, as well as promoting stakeholder engagement, public awareness and lesson learning.

Evaluation of Closed Darwin Initiative Projects in Seychelles, Mauritius and Rodrigues

The objective of the evaluation of closed projects was to review the outcomes of Darwin Initiative projects in view of their original proposal and logical frameworks. Seven projects were reviewed during a field visit to Seychelles, Mauritius and Rodrigues which took place during the 20th to the 30th of November 2006. These visits were preceded and followed up by communications with relevant UK institutions. Interviews were conducted with other key stakeholders, such as Government Departments, when feasible.

Mauritius, Mid Term Review of Developing Reserves for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries in Rodrigues, DEFRA

This report provided the findings and recommendations of the mid-term review for Darwin Initiative Project 13-027: Developing Reserves for Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries in Rodrigues. The mid-term review aimed to assess the relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and impact of the project thus far and provide suggestions to overcome issues constraining project progress. One week was spent in Rodrigues with host country partners and interviews were held with a range of stakeholders. The project achieved significant progress in a number of areas – on monitoring and education/awareness activities particularly. The main host institution, Shoals Rodrigues, is a ‘child’ of successive DI projects that is now maturing into a credible local NGO run by respected local staff. This is a significant legacy for the Darwin Initiative.