In the pristine paradise of the Maldives, where azure waters and coral reefs captivate visitors, fresh water has always been the most valuable commodity. Discover how Maldivians obtain freshwater for daily purposes through ingenuity and brilliance, amidst scarcity and hardship.
The Nature of the Challenge
The Maldives is a nation of islands, composed of over 1,000 coral atolls scattered across the Indian Ocean. While surrounded by saltwater, the country’s access to freshwater is limited. The Maldives primarily relies on rainwater for its freshwater supply, as underground freshwater lenses are easily contaminated by seawater intrusion.
To address the freshwater challenge, rainwater harvesting has become a critical practice in the Maldives. Nearly every building, from homes to resorts, is equipped with rainwater collection systems. Rainfall is collected from rooftops, channelled into storage tanks, and treated for consumption and daily use.
In recent years, the Maldives has also turned to desalination technology to augment its freshwater supply. Desalination plants use advanced processes to convert seawater into freshwater, providing a reliable source for both residents and tourists. This technology is not available on every inhabited island, and most still rely on rainwater and groundwater as their primary sources.
Recognizing the importance of sustainable water management, the Maldivian government and various organizations are working to educate both locals and visitors about responsible water usage. Initiatives focus on reducing water waste, optimizing desalination processes, and preserving fragile freshwater ecosystems. Many Maldives eco-friendly hotels have made considerable efforts to practice their water management effectively, most notably hotels such as OZEN by Atmosphere at Maadhoo.