About the Project

Reducing flood-related risks by strengthening national mechanisms and capacities, flood-proofing infrastructures and upgrading drainage in downstream urban areas

Shifting to a more climate-resilient future

As a Small Island Developing State (SIDS) in the Pacific, Samoa has been heavily impacted by increasingly severe tropical storms. Given the topography of the country, these extreme events have caused significant river discharge that result in flooding of lowland areas. Recent tropical storms like Cyclone Evan have caused floods resulting in serious health impacts and significant damage to both public and private assets and lives and have suffered considerable and is expected to further degrade as extreme weather events are becoming more frequent. The resulting damages following Cyclone Evans in 2012, have been estimated at US $200 million.

The Government of Samoa (GoS) through the Ministry of Finance (MoF), as the Executing Agency (EA) is benefiting from a Green Climate Fund (GCF) funded project, “the Integrated Flood Management to Enhance Climate Resilience of the Vaisigano River Catchment Area (VRCA) in Samoa”, referred to as the Vaisigano Catchment Project (GCF-VCP), which started in 2017 for six years.

The objective of the GCF-VCP is to strengthen the adaptive capacity, and reduce exposure to climate risks of vulnerable communities, infrastructure and the built environment in the VRCA. Vaisigano River is the river that flows through the Apia Urban Area (AUA).

The GCF-VCP represents the GoS’s first GCF approved multi-sectoral project, one of the largest of its kind and represents the GoS’s initial steps in operationalizing a comprehensive flood management solution with a total budget for six years of USD$ 65 million which co-funded with the GCF contributing USD $57 Million and the GoS providing USD $ 8 Million. It has three Major Outputs:

  1. Assessments and mechanisms in place for an integrated approach to reduce vulnerability towards flood-related risks
  2. Infrastructure in the Vaisigano River are flood-proofed to increase resilience to negative effect of excessive water
  3. Drainage in downstream areas upgraded for increased regulation of water flows

In conjunction with the GoS co-financing leveraged for this project, GCF resources will be used to address a number of key technical issues including infrastructure; capacity and information based barriers to enhancing the effectiveness of flood management systems. The primary direct beneficiaries include approximately 26,528 people in the VRCA and 37,000 people indirect beneficiaries.

The GCF-VCP is executed by the MoF, the Executing Agency (EA)/National Designated Authority (NDA), with the UNDP as the GCF Accredited Entity (AE) with multi- stakeholders and Implementing Agencies (IAs) comprising of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MNRE), Land Transport Authority (LTA), Ministry of Works, Transport and Infrastructure (MWTI) and the Ministry of Health (MoH).

The thirty one villages prioritized and included in the VRCA and will benefit from the activities funded under the GCF-VCP are as follows:

  1. Afiamalu East
  2. Tiapapata
  3. Vaoala
  4. Vailima
  5. Avele
  6. Papauta
  7. Tanugamanono
  8. Leufisa
  9. Motootua
  10. Maagiagi-uta
  11. Maagiagi-tai
  12. Faatoialemanu
  13. Lelata
  14. Vini-fou
  15. Levili
  16. Vaipuna
  1. Aai o Niue
  2. Maluafou
  3. Malifa
  4. Leififi
  5. Tufuiopa
  6. Tauese
  7. Apia
  8. Leone
  9. Vaisigano
  10. Matautu-uta
  11. Matautu-tai
  12. Vaiala-uta
  13. Vaiala-tai
  14. Moataa
  15. Letava
Vaisigano Catchment Areas Map


Output 1: Assessments and mechanisms in place for an integrated approach to reduce vulnerability towards flood-related risks

Sub Output/Activity 1.1: Strengthen capacities and information requirements to pursue an integrated programme approach to flood management

  • Sub Activity 1.1.1 : Review the Interdependence of flood mitigation options
  • Sub Activity 1.1.2: Conduct Feasibility Studies for Flood-buffering reservoir in the upper catchment of the Vaisigano River.
  • Sub Activity 1.1.3: Conduct feasibility studies for flood-proofing Central Cross Island Road (CCIR)
  • Sub Activity 1.1.4: Conduct feasibility studies for Apia Integrated Sewage System

Sub Output/Activity 1.2: Establish health surveillance systems to track and manage flood-related health issues

  • Sub Activity 1.2.1: Include flood related information in CLEWS messaging system
  • Sub Activity 1.2.2: Train health practitioners dealing with emergencies on how to respond to flood-related emergencies.
  • Sub Activity 1.2.3: Train village councils on how to prepare for and evacuate flood related victims.
  • Sub Activity 1.2.4: Awareness raising among health practitioners and village councils about the flood-related EWS.

Sub Output/Activity 1.3: Expand EWS coverage to provide flooding alerts in Apia

  • Sub Activity 1.3.1: MNRE conduct hydrological modelling to generate flood scenarios.
  • Sub Activity 1.3.2: Integration of flood warning into the EWS by training technical officers.
  • Sub Activity 1.3.3 Increase awareness of updated EWS with at risk populations (mock drills etc)

Sub Output/Activity 1.4: Conduct awareness-raising campaigns on building practices and designs for at-risk communities

  • Activity 1.4.1: Translation of the new building code and Apia spatial plan into simple manuals for builders to follow.
  • Activity 1.4.2: Production of exhibition on flood-proof building and land use practices to be used in water tower and 2 million trees campaign.
  • Activity 1.4.3: MoU with SUNGO and members to participate in awareness raising campaigns
  • Activity 1.4.4: MoU with builders’ association on flood-proof buildings.

Output 2: Infrastructure in the Vaisigano River are flood-proofed to increase resilience to negative effects of excessive water

Sub Output / Activity 2.1: Channelization of segment 2 and 3 of the Vaisigano river streambed to accommodate increased water flow and decrease flood risks

  • Sub Activity 2.1.1: Review proposed designs for channelization of segment 2,3, and 4 of the Vaisigano River including the impact on channel capacity of the new Lelata Bridge and the potential for optimizing scheme design and durability.
  • Sub Activity 2.1.2: Establishment of flood protection measures along segments 2,3,4 of Vaisigano River.
  • Sub Activity 2.1.3: Capacity building of maintenance teams for flood protection measures
  • Sub Activity 2.1.4: Contracting members of local communities for execution of activities with regards to building and landscape restoration along the segments.

Sub Output /Activity 2.2: Implement ecosystem response upstream for decreased flows during extreme weather events

  • Sub Activity 2.2.1: Determining and implementing the best protection options for flood management activities from Ridge to Reef, depending on landscape, land tenure, existing land use and planned developments.
  • Sub Activity 2.2.2: Demarcation process of one area within the Vaisigano River Catchment as a ‘no development zone’ in combination with a ‘no development zone’ in combination with a ‘restricted zone’ below it and assign this as a ‘Water Resources Protection Area’ as mandated under the Water Resources Management Act 2008 and the Water Resources Management Regulation 2013.
  • Sub Activity 2.2.3: Follow development consent process for demarcation.
  • Sub Activity 2.2.4: Develop a community based adaptation strategy for ecosystem based alternative income generating activities
  • Sub Activity 2.2.5: Train members of local population on these alternative income generating activities, as well as business incubation for entrepreneurial agribusiness and climate change and flood-related business options.
    Sub Activity 2.2.6: Provision of a cash-for-work option for flood-related catchment rehabilitation (anti-erosive measures, landscaping options).

Sub Output/Activity 2.3: Construction of upgrade of Lelata bridge to accommodate increase flood waters

  • Sub Activity 2.3.1: Review current design of Lelata Bridge.
  • Sub Activity 2.3.2: Construction of Lelata bridge according to upgraded design.

Sub Output/ Activity 2.4: Extension of floodwalls at Lelata and Leone Bridges to prevent damage during extreme events

  • Sub Activity 2.4.1: Review current design of floodwalls adjacent to both bridges.
  • Sub Activity 2.4.2: Construction of floodwall extensions at both Leone and Lelata bridges.

Output 3: Drainage in downstream areas upgraded for increased regulation of water flows

Sub Output/Activity 3.1: Develop a climate resilient Stormwater Master Plan

  • Sub Activity 3.1.1: Review the current drainage system existent in the Vaisigano River flood plan.
  • Sub Activity 3.1.2: Identification of specific design options for current hazard spots in order to flood proof these in line with expected flood risks.
  • Sub Activity 3.1.3: Consultation process for selection of priority areas to be upgraded.
  • Sub Activity 3.1.4: Elaborate a multi-year climate resilient stormwater master plan for the Vaisigano River floodplain.
  • Sub Activity 3.1.5: Capacity building of the relevant stakeholder agencies with regards to implementation of the Master Plan.

Sub Output/ Activity 3.2: Upgrade drainage systems and outfalls in hazard areas to accommodate flooding events

  • Sub Activity 3.2.1: Assessment and design of the priority drainage upgrades and critical hazard areas with regards to needed upgrade.
  • Sub Activity 3.2.2: Implementation of upgrades.
  • Sub Activity 3.2.3 Integration of upgrades in the Masterplan ( Activity 3.1)

Project Cycle and Milestones

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