Water Update October

5 October 2017

Rarotonga is now on Level 3 Water Warning for drought and all residents are requested to cooperate with the Drought Management Plan actions in order to conserve the available water supply.  Level 1 is normal and Level 5 is a severe emergency.

The triggers for Level 3 are any of the following conditions - continuous below average rainfall extending from previous month, stream flow below 50% capacity, reticulation pressure readings below 50% capacity, residential/community water storage below 50% of capacity, tourist storage below 50% of capacity, low rainfall forecast for the next month. 

The Infrastructure Cook Islands Water Divisions pressure readings around the island has been dropping steadily since August although we did experience some rain in early and late September.  “The situation is getting serious for the Northern side of the island where we are carting water to fill the Nikao community water tanks because there is just not enough pressure in the mains to fill the bottom tanks which then pump to the hill top tanks.  The normal pressure for the area is usually about 20m, at the moment it has dropped to 8m so below 50% hence we are now announcing the Level 3 situation as we are now extracting water from the other areas to subsidise the north side” says WATSAN Water Division Manager, Wilson Rani.

“The rain forecast for August to October was expected to bring us a decent amount of rain but unfortunately it hasn’t been so” says Arona Ngari, head of the Meteorology Service.  “The current international forecast for the Southern Group expects October to have normal rain however it will more realistically be just below normal and stay this way for the next three months”, adds Ngari.

In order to conserve the water supply the Water Division asks everyone to practice water saving measures such as shorter showers, flush only number twos, don’t wash cars or windows, don’t water gardens and avoid any public high water usage activities such as car wash fundraisers.  Agricultural water usage should only be between 6am to 10am and 6pm to 10pm.   “Working with the drought response plan, we all need to cut our daily water usage by 50% and do not waste water.  We find so much water wastage from faulty plumbing all over the island at people’s houses, pig pens and on vacant lands that have a water connection.  It is a social responsibility for people to get their leaky plumbing repaired” says WATSAN Director Jaime Short.  “The Drought Management Plan, Level 3 details have now been posted online at: http://ici.gov.ck/icis-drought-management-plan-for-rarotonga-water and is available for download on this page.  Everyone should download this document and cooperate with all the measures stated” adds Short.

ICI will be providing regular updates over the following weeks.