Hydrology for the Environment, Life and Policy (HELP)
As a cross-cutting programme component HELP aims to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to stakeholders through research towards the sustainable and appropriate use of water. This is accomplished by deploying hydrological science in support of improved integrated catchments management. This includes improving the complex relationships between hydrological processes, water resources management, ecology, socio-economics and policy-making. The ultimate goal of the programme is to help scientists and stakeholders break through the traditional paradigm lock that separates them from integrated solutions. Further on HELP is available here.
UNESCO Office Jakarta together with UNESCO Office Apia and Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) has been promoting HELP in Asia and the Pacific by carrying out Niue’s Groundwater Resource Monitoring and Management Programme.
The programme was initiated in 2005 through a UNESCO Participation Program (PP) Grant for the development of a groundwater resources assessment and monitoring programme. In 2005 the PP Grant was used to fund the purchase of some monitoring equipment and an in-country mission by a consultant to complete an initial hydrogeological investigation. This work to date has been valuable as a first step towards establishing a groundwater monitoring programme for Niue, enabling initial estimates of the sustainable yield of the freshwater lens, its vulnerability to drought and to contamination from land surface activities. However there is a need to improve the understanding of groundwater resources on the island, specifically to determine groundwater flow directions to enable the estimation of the catchment areas of the public water supply boreholes, which can then be used to define protection areas or other planning approaches to protect the public water supply boreholes.
Based upon previous works, in 2007 we stepped further by reviewing Niue’s current water regulations to explains the need for comprehensive water resource legislation in Niue. The action was then followed by preparing an amended draft Water Resources Act and Water Resources Regulation in consultation with Government of Niue (GoN) as well as indentifying the impediment for approval. The draft of Water Resources Act and Water Resources Regulation was then submitted to GoN and Crown Law office for review and endorsement.
A strategic meeting of Asia-Pacific IHP HELP was held from 2-3 December 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia with participants from Australia, Indonesia, Korea (Republic of), Mongolia, Malaysia Pakistan and Philippines who presented their thoughts on the overall presentation of HELP and discussed about the actions for the strengthening of the programme in Asia-Pacific in the framework of IHP-VIII Strategic plan. During this meeting, Professor Soontak Lee presented the idea of establishing an Asia Pacific HELP (AP-HELP), adopted by all participants.