Improving the Water Supply for the Tamarua Village in Mangaia
The existing water supply to the Tamarua village in Mangaia from the Veitatei stream is not reliable due to declining stream levels, a deteriorating pipeline and lack of water storage. Access to the intake to maintain the supply is also difficult. Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) is currently undertaking a project to address these problems.
“By evaluating the options for improving the water reticulation supplied to Tamarua, this project will help to improve the quality of life for the village community by enabling them to have a reliable source of water for consumption, cooking, washing and sanitation purposes” says Wilson Rani, of ICI. The effect of the options on the environment and the culture of the community are also being considered.
This project is aligned with the Mangaia Island and Puna 2014-2018 Plan and is a continuation of the recommendations made over the last 10 years of water related consultation for Mangaia. The project also contributes towards the National Sustainable Development Goals.
Following on the investigation work, the physical works for this project now include the construction of a new intake structure to provide water to Tamarua village. A new rising main from the new intake to the village and two 25,000 L water storage tanks will also be constructed as part of the project. Construction of these works are due to being within the next month. Following completion of the project the existing intake on the Veitatei stream will no longer be in use.
The project is funded by the Cook Island Government and ICI will be responsible for overseeing implementation in consultation with Mangaia Island Government, Island Council and Tamarua Kavana (Paramount Chief). This group is responsible for coordinating the overall management and supervision of the Tamarua Water Project.
Other important elements of the project, additional to the physical works is water conservation awareness with the community. “With the expected effects of climate change, water conservation is a very serious matter and we are considering these effects across all our projects” says Tenga Mana, Director of Planning and Design.
ICI intend to explore further explore options in the future to improve water security in Mangaia, which include investigations into groundwater water sources and another surface intake. “We now know the mistakes of the past cannot be continued where in many places in the world, humans have extracted groundwater with no control and depleted it which causes a lot of problems for ecology which then impacts on humans too. We need to now implement lessons learned and ensure proper planning and practice so that groundwater harvesting does not exceed groundwater recharge” notes Rani.