Tonga's government to provide desalination machines to the outer islands

Last month, El Niño was officially declared for the kingdom by the Tonga Meteorology Service.

Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni said the drought season is a pressing issue, especially for the outer islands.

He told local media that the government's main concern is to provide sufficient water resources for the outer islands.

Tongatapu and 'Eua are already in drought conditions, drought warnings are in place for Ha'apai and Vava'u Island divisions, and drought alerts are in place for Niua-toputapu and Niua-fo'ou.


Drought declared in parts of Tonga

A rain deficit is forecast for the coming months as the impacts of an El Niño take hold across the region.

In the last three months, the rainfall in Tongatapu has been below average.

Local media report that until December, Tongatapu, Vava'u, Ha'apai, and 'Eua, should expect 30 percent less rainfall than usual. Niuafo'ou and Niuatoputapu are forecast to receive 20 percent less.

The public has been urged to use rainwater and tap water efficiently, in order to conserve supplies.

Hope amidst Kiribati water crisis, but international help is needed

RNZ Pacific reports Kiribati has the highest infant mortality rates in the Pacific linked directly to unsafe drinking water, according to Childfund.

The country has very low ground water which is contaminated by salt and rubbish. Climate change is making it worse with rising sea water, periods of drought and sporadic rains.

Kiribati Banaba island struggles with drought

There have been reports that the remote island was facing a water crisis, with empty tanks and two desalination machines out of action.

Pelenise Alofa said Banaba had no natural water source and islanders usually relied on rain water, but there hadn't been any in six months.

She said food crops like pumpkin and tapioca were dying.

"There hasn't been any rain.

Sydney gets toughest water restrictions in a decade

On Tuesday, level two restrictions were enacted in the capital of New South Wales (NSW), a state 99.9% in drought.

These could be increased to level three within months, local media report.

Temperatures are predicted to soar above 40C (104F) from Tuesday, worsening fires which have already killed six people since October.

There are now more than 100 fires in NSW and Queensland states, many of which have been burning for several weeks.

What are the water restrictions?

Rising heat could make parts of South Asia uninhabitable by 2100 -study

Most of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh will experience temperatures close to the limits of survivability by 2100, without emissions reductions.

The research says the fraction of the population exposed to dangerous, humid heat waves may reach 30 percent.

South Asia is home to one-fifth of the world's inhabitants.

Wet bulb threat

Most official weather stations around the world measure temperature with two thermometers.

Australia gives more funding to fight Pacific drought

It gave US$6.5 million dollars last year and has just announced another US$359,000 dollars in additional support for the North Pacific.

The foreign minister Julie Bishop said the money will focus initially on the Marshall Islands where a state of emergency is in force.

More water for drought stricken Fiji's Western division

The provision of tanks was made possible with support from the €19.36 million (US$21.12 million) European Union Building Safety and Resilience in the Pacific (BSRP) project which is implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC).

These tanks will be installed in temporary roadside locations filled by the National Disaster Management Office throughout the Christmas season to ensure the most severely affected areas can access clean and safe drinking water, which is critical to human health.

Drought threat for much of the Pacific remains

The Island Climate Update, compiled by New Zealand's NIWA with other meteorological agencies and the Pacific Regional Environment Programmme, says each of those countries has experienced significantly lower than expected rain levels in the past five to six months.

Australia announces Pacific drought relief package

Australia's foreign minister has announced financial assistance to Pacific countries struggling with drought brought on by this year's severe El Niño.

Julie Bishop yesterday toured areas of Papua New Guinea's Highlands with foreign minister Rimbink Pato.

The PNG government estimates a million people in the Highlands are in a state of distress as a result of months of severe drought and frosts, which has killed crops and dried up water supplies.