Greening the Islands Foundation


Water: Biggest Threat and Opportunity for Islands’ Sustainability 

Water is a key element for the sustainable development of all islands but many, especially the smaller islands, face multiple challenges in securing supply and resilience of the whole water cycle.


Many islands rely on water imports from the mainland by tanker ships, highly costly and polluting. Most of small islands struggle with water security and resilience and climate change-induced droughts are impacting their already limited water resources.


However, islands also have unique opportunities to implement innovative solutions for water management, based on renewable energy, circular economy, and community engagement. For higher security of supply covering all uses and an overall more efficient water cycle, islands need to turn to seawater desalination, rainwater harvesting, and wastewater reuse.


The GTI Observatory Report – a comprehensive study that analyses the state of the art and the best practices in various sectors, such as energy, water, mobility, waste, agriculture, air quality and tourism – provides a comprehensive source of information for water management on islands, highlighting the challenges, the opportunities, the best practices, and different case studies on the innovative solutions for water management on islands.


Water management on islands should be based on a thorough assessment and monitoring, and on a holistic and integrated approach, considering climate change impacts and the adaptation needs, as well as the water-energy-food-ecosystem nexus and the interactions and synergies among different sectors and stakeholders, fostering the participation and empowerment of the local communities.

The full GTI Report 2022: “Integrated Sustainability for Island Self-sufficiency” is reserved for GTI Members.

Click here to learn more about the benefits of becoming a member.

Water holds significant potential for reuse, offering numerous benefits that remain largely untapped. This practice proves particularly advantageous, especially for agricultural irrigation. Notably, its adoption entails substantially lower costs for both island communities and the environment compared to fresh water. However, many islands lack the infrastructure, the technology, and the incentives to implement circular economy principles and practices for water management.


Desalination can provide a reliable and cleaner water supply for islands, especially in arid and remote areas, reducing reliance on the mainland and preserving essential natural resources   Desalination should be integrated with renewable energy sources to reduce the carbon footprint and costs.


The Report emphasises the importance and the urgency of increasing water security through sustainable water management, as a way to cope with the climate change impacts and the increasing water demand. Innovative technologies can lead to higher resilience and security.


The Report calls for collaboration among island stakeholders, to share the knowledge, and to support the implementation and replication of successful projects for higher public acceptance of innovative solutions. The Report includes water best practices and Case Studies on Islands such as Cape Verde, Canary Islands, Cyprus and the Caribbean. Many islands around the world have implemented water projects that demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of innovative solutions for water management.


While we’ve only scratched the surface, the GTI Observatory Report holds a treasure trove of insights, recommendations, and captivating case studies spanning diverse technologies. Unlock the full potential by becoming a member and delve into the depths of this essential sector and beyond!

Ready to improve your island’s Water management?

Dive deep into our study for further insights.

Part of our Report, is an in-depth study looking at islands revolutionising water management. Discover more below in our overview. Become a member to access the report, which will offer full insights into the matter as well as innovations and best practices to improve water sustainability.

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