46346-002: Ebeye Water Supply and Sanitation Project | Asian Development Bank

Marshall Islands: Ebeye Water Supply and Sanitation Project

Sovereign (Public) Project | 46346-002 Status: Active

The Asian Development Bank is working with Marshall Islands to improve water and sanitation systems in Ebeye, the second largest city in the country. The project is linking all households to upgraded freshwater and sewage facilities that reduce water leaks and sewage overflows. Public awareness raising is being carried out to improve hygiene and reduce a high incidence of waterborne diseases.

Project Details

Project Officer
Blaik, Stephen Pacific Department Request for information
  • Marshall Islands
  • Grant
  • Water and other urban infrastructure and services
Project Name Ebeye Water Supply and Sanitation Project
Project Number 46346-002
Country Marshall Islands
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 0438-RMI: Ebeye Water Supply and Sanitation Project
concessional ordinary capital resources lending / Asian Development Fund US$ 5.00 million
Grant 0439-RMI: Ebeye Water Supply and Sanitation Project
Government of Australia US$ 4.00 million
Strategic Agendas Environmentally sustainable growth
Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Knowledge solutions
Sector / Subsector

Energy / Electricity transmission and distribution

Water and other urban infrastructure and services / Urban sewerage - Urban water supply

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming Effective gender mainstreaming
Description The project will address factors which result in the high incidence of waterborne disease on Ebeye, an island within Kwajalein Atoll.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Ebeye has an area of approximately 31 hectares and a population of more than 9,600, (population density is about 31,000 persons per km2). The project will improve access to safe water and sanitation and promote behavioral change to improve hygiene standards.

High incidence of waterborne disease. Ebeye has a high incidence of waterborne disease. The number of cases of waterborne disease, primarily gastroenteritis, recorded by Ebeye Hospital since 2001 averages 1,182 cases per year. The high incidence of waterborne disease is attributed to: (i) limited access to safe water; (ii) ineffective hygiene behaviors, particularly among children; and (iii) a dilapidated sanitation system.

Limited sources of fresh water. The primary sources of potable water for households on Ebeye are the public fresh water supply (84%) provided by the Kwajalein Atoll Joint Utilities Resources (KAJUR) Inc.; household rainwater tanks (15%); and bottled water (1%). Sources of potable water are household rainwater harvesting and a reverse osmosis desalination (RO) plant operated by KAJUR. Groundwater reserves are minimal and there are no freshwater streams. The Ebeye RO plant, commissioned in 2001, uses outdated RO technology and is energy inefficient and requires about 3 times more energy to produce the equivalent volume of potable water than modern RO plants. Currently, the RO plant produces 110,000 gallons potentially providing 11.4 gallons (44 liters) per day to every person. However, the potable water available from fresh water supply system is substantially less due to leakage from the fresh water supply network and uncontrolled overflows from water reservoirs. Rainwater harvesting is being increasingly utilized by households to increase access to potable water but is not secure due to seasonal rainfall patterns and more frequent droughts. In drought years water stored in rainwater tanks is rapidly consumed and rainwater tanks may remain unreplenished for long periods. However, climate projections for the Marshall Islands indicate higher air and sea temperatures and higher rainfall and rainwater harvesting will become an increasingly important supplementary household freshwater.

Need to enhance awareness on hygiene and water related issues. Public awareness and education on water related issues is low and awareness and education activities and outreach are limited. A long-duration hygiene and water awareness campaign is needed to foster sustained behavioral change required for improved hygiene and reduced incidence of waterborne diseases. Campaigns need to focus on children, which comprise 45% of Ebeye's population, through programs delivered in school and to womens groups.

Dilapidated sewer system. The Ebeye saltwater sewerage system has progressively failed due to lack of maintenance since it's commissioning in 1967. Salt water for the operation of the sewer system is sourced from 2 deep wells and is pumped through a dedicated saltwater reticulation network to most areas on Ebeye. Pressure in the saltwater reticulation mains is very low and is insufficient for operation of fire hydrants. The sewage treatment plant has not operated since 2001 and untreated sewage is discharged into the lagoon. The sewage pump stations have limited pumping capacity and frequently fail and there is significant infiltration of seawater into the sewers. The high seawater infiltration and pump failures often result in sewage overflows from manholes and pump stations into the streets. Overflows from the sewerage network and discharge of raw sewage to the lagoon present a serious health hazard. Water quality testing by the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicates that the marine water quality at several locations on Ebeye's lagoon foreshore does not meet EPA standards due to sewage contamination.

Unsustainable water and sewerage services. Over the past 6 fiscal years, KAJUR has recorded operating losses of $2 million or more. Electricity services account for about 88% of KAJUR's operating revenue. Water supply and sewerage services are provided by KAJUR free of charge. KAJUR has financed the gap between expenditure and operating revenues through grants from the United States. KAJUR has developed a reform strategy to improve its financial sustainability through improved operational efficiency and increased revenues. The reform strategy includes plans to install consumer meters and the introduction of volumetric-based charges for water supply and sewerage services. However, tariff policies have yet to be developed. Asset planning and improved management is essential for KAJUR to become financially and technically sustainable.

The project is consistent with RMI's strategic development strategy, Vision 2018, for improved hygiene and sanitation and reliable and affordable water and sanitation infrastructure. The project is included in RMI Country Operations Business Plan 2013 2015 which includes a strategic focus of infrastructure development. The project is aligned with: (i) ADB's Strategy 2020 to contribute to improved public health through water and sanitation investments; (ii) ADB's Approach to Assisting the Pacific (2010 2014) to improve the supply and delivery of water and sanitation services; and (iii) ADB's Water Policy and Water Operational Plan 2011 2020 to increase efficiency and productivity in the delivery of water services and increase investments in sanitation and wastewater management.

Impact The project impact will be reduced incidence of waterborne disease on Ebeye and is aligned empowering people and communities to reduce the incidence of _access related_ poverty through improvements in all areas including social, economic, environment, governance and infrastructure as articulated in RMI's National Strategic Plan 2015- 2017)
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome Improved access to safe water and improved sanitation.
Progress Toward Outcome The commissioning and operation of the new salt water reverse osmosis (SWRO) plant since 3 September 2017 has resulted in transformative changes to the supply and distribution of freshwater on Ebeye.
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Secure and safe freshwater supplies

Effective and efficient sewerage services

Enhanced hygiene awareness and improved hygiene behaviors

Secure electricity supply for water supply and sewerage operations

KAJUR is financially and technically sustainable

Effective project management

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues) Progress since the EWSSP special administration mission in July 2017 has been partially satisfactory. Significant project milestones achieved since July 2017 include: (i) the commissioning and operation of the new salt water reverse osmosis (SWRO) plant which has resulted in transformative changes to the supply and distribution of freshwater on Ebeye; (ii) the construction of the second of 2 new salt water wells; and (iii) completion of the summer hygiene awareness program for school students. However, the delay in engaging consultants to undertake an independent technical review of the Water Supply and Sewer Network Rehabilitation and Expansion Program (WSSNREP) and the Electricity Distribution System Upgrading Program (EDSUP) bidding documents is disappointing and could further delay the overall delivery of the project. Analysis of the original and current project implementation schedules for indicates that delivery of some outputs may be delayed by more than 9 months. Continuing proactive measures by all key stakeholders are required to avoid further delays and to expedite project delivery.
Geographical Location Ebeye
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement B
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects Adverse environmental impacts of the project will mainly be construction impacts, which are expected to be minimal for land based works. The proposed sewer effluent outfall construction on the lagoon reef will require that adequate mitigation measures are implemented. Adverse environmental impacts associated with the project will be prevented, eliminated, or minimized to an acceptable level if the environmental management plan (EMP) component of the initial environmental examination is effectively implemented.
Involuntary Resettlement The majority of the civil works will be constructed on land which currently leased to the Kwajalein Atoll Development Authority which dedicates existing and planned road and utility corridors to public use in perpetuity. However, the lease will expire in 2016 and a new lease is required for existing KAJUR facilities located outside of the utility corridors covering a total area of 5.75 acres (approximately 2.6 hectares) and include the wastewater treatment plant, freshwater and saltwater reservoirs, and sewage pump stations. The project will have temporary resettlement impacts as several fences will need to be temporarily removed to enable expansion of the water supply and sewerage system.
Indigenous Peoples The people of Ebeye consider themselves indigenous in terms of ethnic origin. The project is not expected to have a negative impact on any distinct or vulnerable group of indigenous peoples as defined under ADB's Safeguard Policy Statement.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design The project has been designed through an intensive stakeholder consultation process.
During Project Implementation
Responsible ADB Officer Blaik, Stephen
Responsible ADB Department Pacific Department
Responsible ADB Division Urban, Social Development & Public Management Division, PARD
Executing Agencies
Office of the Chief Secretary
P. O. Box 15, Majuro
Republic of the Marshall Islands
MH 96960
Concept Clearance 20 Dec 2012
Fact Finding 02 Dec 2014 to 08 Dec 2014
MRM 08 May 2015
Approval 28 Sep 2015
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 26 Sep 2017

Grant 0438-RMI

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
28 Sep 2015 13 Oct 2015 03 Dec 2015 30 Jun 2022 - -
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 15.02 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 5.00 28 Sep 2015 2.95 0.00 59%
Counterpart 10.02 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 28 Sep 2015 1.74 0.00 35%

Grant 0439-RMI

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
28 Sep 2015 13 Oct 2015 03 Dec 2015 30 Jun 2022 - -
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 4.00 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 0.00 28 Sep 2015 0.00 2.33 58%
Counterpart 0.00 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 4.00 28 Sep 2015 0.00 1.39 35%

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

The Public Communications Policy (PCP) recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to development effectiveness. It establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced.

The Accountability Mechanism provides a forum where people adversely affected by ADB-assisted projects can voice and seek solutions to their problems and report alleged noncompliance of ADB's operational policies and procedures.

In preparing any country program or strategy, financing any project, or by making any designation of, or reference to, a particular territory or geographic area in this document, the Asian Development Bank does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.

Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards

Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

None currently available.

The Public Communications Policy (PCP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.