World Water Day 2013

22 March 2013

Friday marks the 23rd World Water Day – an internationally observed event, coordinated by the United Nations to put a spotlight on water-related issues and projects

 This year’s World Water Day is especially relevant for the Cook Islands with the Te Mato Vai project soon to get underway with the aim of delivering safe and healthy drinking water to households and businesses in Rarotonga.

Te Mato Vai represents a significant investment by the government to have drinking water in the main population centres meet international standards. Currently the Cook Islands population is included in the 780 million people worldwide who do not have access to safe drinking water.

 Improving water quality and delivery on Rarotonga will have significant economic benefits of $10 million to $17 million per year for the Cook Islands.

 The Government will formally launch the Te Mato Vai project in the coming months, and will begin discussions with community groups, residents and business owners on how the project will be delivered and other issues.

 As a partnership between the Cook Islands, China and New Zealand, Te Mato Vai is an true example of the theme of 2013 World Water Day which is Water Cooperation.

 On-going cooperation is vital to safeguarding supply of water to earth’s rapidly growing population. Many water resources span country borders or sit in disputed areas and if not managed in a cooperative way, conflict over water could emerge as a growing trend in the 21st century.

 World Water Day Facts

  • 85% of the world population lives in the driest half of the planet.
  • 783 million people do not have access to clean water 
  • 6 to 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases.
  • Water for irrigation and food production constitutes one of the greatest pressures on freshwater resources.
  • Agriculture accounts for 70% of global freshwater withdrawals (up to 90% in some fast-growing economies).

 The WATSAN unit of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning is also urging property owners to use World Water Day as an opportunity to consider how they can best conserve and preserve precious water resources.

 “The dry spell is beginning to put pressure on water reserves and now is a good time to put into practice WATSAN’s water conservation tips,” said unit manager Tai Nooapii.

  •  Water your garden at dawn or dusk, and only on alternate days
  • Take a shower rather than a bath and shorten your shower by a minute or two.
  • Bathe your young children together.
  • Collect rain water for use in the garden.
  • Don’t run the tap whilst cleaning your teeth.
  • Only boil as much water as you need when making drinks.
  • Don’t leave taps (faucets) dripping - repair any worn washers.
  • Teach your children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
  • Only wash full loads in washing machines and dishwashers.
  • If you have a dehumidifier or air conditioning unit which collects the water this can be used to water houseplants as can water from defrosting a fridge or freezer. This is distilled water.
  • Water remaining after boiling eggs can be cooled and used to water plants as this is high in nutrients as is the dirty water taken from a fish tank.
  • If you drink tap water and normally run the tap for a while to ensure the water is cold, collect this initial supply either in your kettle or to water plants, alternatively, instead of waiting for it to run cold keep a jug of water in the fridge.
  • Wash vegetables in a bowl rather than under a running tap.
  • When you are washing your hands, don't let the water run while you lather.
  • Fit a water saving device in your toilet cistern or replace with a modern one as these use less water for each flush.
  • If your shower fills a 4 litre bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a water-efficient model