New Zealand has committed $5 million to low-lying countries that are vulnerable to water shortages.

Prime Minister John Key announced the new commitment at the Pacific Islands Forum in the Marshall Islands this morning.

As part of a five-year partnership, New Zealand would improve water security in Tuvalu, Tokelau, the Cook Islands, and in the Marshalls.

This included ensuring gutters were properly connected to storage tanks, training national water security officers and helping maintain water storage facilities.

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The low-lying Pacific nations are susceptible to water inundation - storm surges in parts of the Marshalls have contaminated water wells so badly that it would take ten years for it to become drinkable again.

The programme is expected to begin in six months' time.