HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 570:29 June 2011

Mauke water may be subject to user pays

In a probable first for the Cook Islands, user pays is poised to come to Mauke households and businesses for water. Ngateina Rani of the Ministry for Infrastructure advised the Herald on Wednesday morning that all users of water on Mauke will be metered.
The community (households and businesses) has agreed, subject to monitoring, to metering of the water supply with a provisional view to paying up to $10 a month.
Firstly, monitoring of water use is to be carried out for three to four months to ascertain a “base” figure per household. There is a view that the first 3,000 litres could be supplied free of charge with the householder paying for any amount above this. It needs to be a figure which is fair to all.
The user pays proposal is to cover the cost of the pumps and distribution system. The community will not be actually paying for the water as such. Mauke water which comes from underground is of very good quality.
Wastage has been greatly reduced by the use of polyethylene piping which requires a mechanical coupling every 100 metres as opposed to the glued joints for a PVC pipe every 6 metres.
Mauke’s new water storage and distribution system began under the Democratic Party government and was officially handed over to the Island Council in a ceremony on Thursday 26 May 2011 attended by the Prime Minister Hon Henry Puna, NZ High Commissioner Linda Te Puni, Infrastructure Minister Hon Teariki Heather, Associate Minister for Agriculture Hon Kiriau Turepu, Jonathan Lowe NZ Aid Programme Manager, Leader of the Opposition Hon Robert Wigmore, Royston Jones Infrastructure Engineer from Auckland Super City’s Watercare Division and officials.
Mauke’s new water system consists of water tanks, solar powered pumps, piping and a reticulation control office.
There were ceremonies to unveil the various installations and there was also a blessing of four agricultural sites which will benefit from the new water system. It’s expected the water supply will boost agricultural production. It will also mean the growers can come off the community water supply.
A feature of the new system is the two 80,000 litre water tanks set 12 metres high. The solar powered pumps can switch to grid power should there be no sun.
Funding for the new system can from NZAid-$1.853 million, government-$150,000. Government also provided machinery and labour. The yearly maintenance cost not included labour is estimated to be in the region of $20,000 per year.
The Ministry is said to be considering a similar system for Mangaia, Mitiaro and Atiu.

Herald Issue 554 09 March
- Norm exposes Trio of Doom
- Briefs from PM’s media conference Tuesday
- Tourism Industry ponders $5 million draft strategy
- Norman George resigns from Cook Islands Party
- Letter of Resignation from CIP
- Norman selfish says Prime Minister

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