National water standards priority for water project

13 December 2013

On Friday Te Mato Vai’s (TMV) Project Management Unit met with members of the Institute of Professional Engineers Cook Islands (IPECI) to begin formulating Cook Islands National Water Standards. The meeting was held at the Cook Islands Trade Training Centre conference room in Arorangi.

The process of setting national standards for water is an important step leading up to the detailed design phase of Te Mato Vai. The design, location and capacity of water storage and treatment plants will have to meet the requirements of national water supply standards.

Te Mato Vai project manager Latu Kupa provided IPECI members with an overview of the draft master plan and the levels of service that has been suggested following initial hydraulic modelling.

Kupa said it was important to have national standards in place before the detailed design phase of Te Mato Vai commences in February/March next year.

“Designers will have to meet this threshold [national standards] when they look at where the water storage and treatment plants will have to go to enable government to meet the peak demand for water supply,” said Kupa.

“Water planning is essential for the management of our water resources. The hydraulic modelling extends 20 years to 2031 to take into account population growth and future water demand.”

The draft master plan has recommended service levels for water supply, including the minimum water pressure required at the customer’s meter, which will be considered in the process of setting national standards.

IPECI president Tenga Mana said they are prepared to take the lead in developing the national standards. Mana has consulted with members of IPECI to form a working committee to come up with standards that can be applied to Rarotonga and the outer islands.

Mana said he had already been in talks with the Project Management Unit and believes the project will be a major improvement to the current water supply.

IPECI, a member of the South Pacific Engineers Association, was launched in March and its members are civil, environment, mechanical and electrical engineers.

The national standards will be developed using existing international standards and tailored to suit the needs of the Cook Islands. The working committee will also use water standards in New Zealand, Australia and other Pacific Island nations as benchmarks going forward.

Ngatangiia MP and civil engineer Atatoa Herman is one of the members of the new working committee which met yesterday (Wednesday) to begin working on the national water standards.

“We are overdue for setting standards for quality for our infrastructure, particularly for water. With such a large investment, we need to have standards in place for water supply, services, quality and construction,” said Herman.

Herman says he believes water supply is a key priority for the Cook Islands, followed closely by roads.

A follow-up meeting will be held with the Project Management Unit in January before the national standards are presented to other stakeholders and approved.