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Water management equal to the human and environmental challenges for the island of Bora-Bora

In 1990, the steady increase in drinking water consumption and the volumes of wastewater linked to the growing tourism industry incited Bora-Bora to initiate a major project. Its purpose was to adapt its water management to the varying current and future needs of its population. SUEZ was asked to coordinate all the drinking water, sewerage and wastewater recycling services. Its solution, designed for the entire water management cycle, became a pillar of the natural environment protection approach adopted in this stunning natural paradise.

The mission

Manage water sustainably in Bora-Bora

Bora-Bora, an island in French Polynesia, has been facing increasing pressure in terms of drinking water consumption and wastewater discharge for three decades. This is explained by:

  • the drop in rainfall, especially since 2000,
  • the development of tourism,
  • population growth.

In 1990, the municipality launched a major project for sustainable, durable water management. Through public-private partnerships, the island wished to create a drinking water service, followed by a sewerage system and water treatment, and lastly recycling of treated wastewater.

What is the SUEZ road map? Manage all the services linked to drinking water and wastewater, with a concern for environmental excellence to preserve the stunning natural paradise that is Bora Bora.

10,000
inhabitants served by the water services
7
luxury hotels in 2017
200,000
tourists welcomed to the island each year
Our answer

Manage a responsible water service

As part of two water management contracts, the Polynésienne des Eaux subsidiary of SUEZ undertakes to:

  • produce and distribute drinking water throughout the islands,
  • collect and treat all wastewater,
  • recycle treated wastewater and sludge from the wastewater treatment plants.

Preserve the natural fresh water supply thanks to desalination

The production of drinking water is supplied by 16 boreholes around the island. To preserve the fresh water of the watertable, the Polynésienne des Eaux built three additional desalination plants in 2001, 2006 and 2007. Important means have also been deployed to optimise the performance of the distribution networks and thus avoid any wastage.


Modernise the sewerage system to offer high-quality bathing water to inhabitants and tourists
Bora Bora is the only Polynesian municipality to have a wastewater treatment system - including in the “motu” (small islands) connected by undersea pipes. With the implementation of tertiary treatment, using ultrafiltration membrane technology, La Polynésienne des Eaux produces high-quality recycled water.


Recycling treated water in a circular economy approach

Water filtered by ultrafiltration membrane technology is in high demand for watering parks and gardens, fire-fighting and preparing concrete. This avoids using drinking water for these purposes. La Polynésienne des Eaux also recycles the sludge produced by the wastewater treatment plants thanks to rhizocomposting. The compost obtained is entirely used for fertilising the soil.

The results

For 25 years, Bora Bora has been implementing a development policy focused on technological innovation enabling it to offer its population and tourists from all over the world quality water in a healthy environment in line with sustainable development. For the last 15 years, these efforts have been rewarded by the award of the prestigious “Pavillon Bleu”, a label recognising excellent environmental quality and sustainable tourism development.


The distribution performance standards have significantly increased at Bora Bora thanks to remote management, a segmentation of the network and systematic leak detection (130,000 m3 / year saved thanks to the measures set up (leak detection, etc.).

The high quality of the water recycling by ultrafiltration membranes has led to a rise in demand for it from 60 m3/day to 300 m3/day:

  • for various uses (watering parks and gardens, industrial cleaning, washing boats, etc.)
  • with major economic and social benefits to boot.
3,000
m3/d
of water produced by reverse osmosis for seawater desalination
1,200
m3/year
of compost produced from the sludge from the wastewater treatment plants
85,000
m3/year
of recycled water
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