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Two government departments, the Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Department of Geology, Mines and Water Resources (DGMWR), are in charge of urban and rural water supplies respectively. Water supply delivery in the urban centre of the capital Port Vila is privatized under concession until 2032 to the French operating company UNELCO, which withdraws water from a shallow aquifer.
There is no formal record of water use in Vanuatu. However, UNELCO and DPW record the water delivered and used through the reticulated supplies as a means for pricing and cost recovery. Where water extraction is monitored there is some knowledge and observation of the aquifer. In both the capital Port Vila on Efate island and Luganville on Santo island the aquifers are under increasing pressure from housing, agriculture and other developments (SOPAC, 2007; Sullivan and Guglielmi, 2007; DGMWR, 2008).
In Vanuatu, both surface water and groundwater are used for domestic purposes. In urban areas the main water source is shallow aquifers whereas in rural areas various sources are used such as bores, wells, springs, rivers and rainwater catchments. The urban and rural tourism industry is serviced by the same water supplies as domestic users. Tourism is a fast growing sector, with resort development occurring across Vanuatu.
Industry is not significantly developed in Vanuatu and large consumers comprise only two percent of all UNELCO customers in Port Vila. Agriculture is also underdeveloped. Water withdrawal for livestock is from private bores that are unmonitored. Horticulture development is most advanced in Port Vila where there is easier access to markets and water is supplied by unmonitored bores and by UNELCO through the reticulated Port Vila water supply (SOPAC, 2007; DGMWR, 2008).