There has been a lot of rain this summer season which means that the intakes on Rarotonga have been full for a lengthy time compared to previous years. “We are carrying out maintenance work at each intake on Rarotonga with the replacement of the filtration media, the installation of a back wash system using air to blow out sediments from the filter media and some minor road re-construction” says WATSAN Water Works Manager Wilson Rani.
“Water is working with the Planning & Design Division of Infrastructure Cook Islands on projects in Mangaia, Mitiaro, Aitutaki and Atiu with water network upgrades planned to be complete in the Northern Group by 2020 and Mangaia groundwater investigations to be completed by 2021” says Rani. These investigations are to determine viability for water supply” adds Rani.
A rotation of one staff member from the Water Works Division is being stationed in Atiu as part of an arrangement to assist the Office of the Prime Ministers Renewable Energy Divison (RED). This work is to upgrade the water reticulation supply network along with the power network upgrade managed by RED. The project has been operating since November 2016 and looks to be completed by 2019.
The Mangaia central water project physical work for the village of Ivirua is about to begin with materials now landed in Rarotonga ready to be shipped on the General Transport barge to the island. “The Mangaia water work is led by Planning & Design and is scheduled to be completed this year” says Rani. Planning & Design is also designing a water quantity survey for Tamarua Village water intake.
A downside to the heavy rainfall in Rarotonga is the excess surface water flowing across the ground and through streams and sending soils and nutrients into the lagoon. “These nutrients and soils are not good for our marine environment. Nutrients contribute to seaweed growth like what we see in Muri lagoon and now Titikaveka. Soils suspended in flood waters smother coral and other marine organisms that need clean clear water to live healthily” says Water Demand Technician Raututi Taringa. “Everyone can do their part by having a rainwater tank to collect rainfall, stop stripping streams bare of grasses and shrubs to slow down the movement of water so the muddy water has time to settle out the soil and lastly, installing flood drains on your property will hold back the excess water during heavy rainfall” adds GIS Technician Timothy Tangirere.