Monday, May 25

Rarotonga's water

Rarotonga's water issues have been around for a long time.
I've just remembered this video, published in 2011, saying back then that Rarotonga was very lucky compared to many countries.
We usually had enough water and the streams and springs were not polluted - with industrial or farming pollutants at least. Our main problems were wastage (30 to 70%!) and lack of storage.
Even in times of drought the rivers up in the mountains usually had water in them – it was just harder to get it into the reticulation system.
Government was well aware of this problem and in 2012 announced a project to refurbish the water system by:
- upgrading the intakes
- increasing storage facilities
- treating the water to make it fit to drink
- upgrading the distribution system
The hope was to have this completed by 2015/16.
China, New Zealand and the Cook Islands were to cover the costs, estimated to be about $60 million.
(More details here:
Fast forward to 2020 and we're not there yet.
The project has been beset by problems and the cost has ballooned to $90 million.
The ring main around the island was completed but shoddy workmanship by the Chinese contractors meant that a large amount had to be repaired - by a local company. This is still going on. The intakes are on private land and some landowners are unhappy with lack of government communication about access.
And some people are complaining about the proposed system of disinfection.
There is an excellent opinion piece in Cook Islands News by Jaewynn McKay here:
I am completely in favour of chlorination - it's cheap and efficient (and it will kill coronavirus as well as the other harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites present in 'pure' mountain streams).
People are entitled to oppose it but, hey guys, buy yourself a water storage tank and collect rain water.
Don't stop the rest of us having safe water delivered to our taps.