Help is on its way for Mitiaro’s Failing Water Supply

21 March 2018

Mitiaro is soon to get relief for its failing water supply system.

Water supply on the island is in dire straits as islanders rely primarily on groundwater pumped from the below-ground Vai Utu cave for non-drinking use, while using rainwater for drinking.

There are several issues with the water supply system, such as high salinity level (above freshwater limit), water wastage through leakage, highly corroded reservoir tank and platform stand, and deteriorating community rainwater tanks. There are not enough rainwater tanks on the island which is also experiencing longer periods without rainfall.

The Infrastructure Cook Islands project team will upgrade the water reticulation network; water tank reservoirs, platform stand, pipelines, valves, connection and also provide for access to additional new water sources (groundwater), improve rainwater harvesting catchments and storage, and also improve water quality with the inclusion of water treatment systems.

The environmental impact with regard to the proposed works is likely to be minimal; much of the work will be carried out within already developed areas, new pipes will be installed along the same alignment as the existing pipes, new tank and stand will replace and be constructed at the same place as the existing tank and stand.

There have been numerous consultations with the Mitiaro community, island government, and Aronga Mana over the years, since the Vai Uti pump was commissioned in the 1980’s, the water reticulation network constructed in the 1990’s, the 2003 water investigation, to recent activities.

“The general consensus from Mitiaro community is that they have been waiting too long for Mitiaro Water to be upgraded. The community supports all work with regards to improving the water supply, however would like to be advised and consulted prior to any work taking place” says Wilson Rani of ICI.

The Mitiaro Island Government will provide heavy plant machinery and personnel on island to support the project. ICI engineers and technicians will supervise the work and where required, experts will be engaged to undertake specialist work.

The project will cost approximately NZ$ 327,000 funded by the Cook Island Government and will take 10 months to complete.