HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 585: 12 October 2011

Community meeting to hear about WATSAN pilot scheme
The community meeting hosted by the Muri Environment Care group attracted about 40 people to hear more about the recently launched Waste, Waste Management Initiative (WMI) funded by New Zealand and Australia. The programme is run by the Water and Sanitation Unit known as WATSAN under the auspices of Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning The scheme also incorporates the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) project funded by Global Environment Fund (GEF) and European Union which funded a study to determine the extent of the problem in the area.
The programme is aimed at finding long term solutions to assist with improving the lagoon water quality by means of upgrades to sanitation systems especially within the lagoon protection zone within a defined area of part of Avana and Muri ending at the Paringaru streamin Maii. This is a pilot scheme out of which lessons learnt will be used to develop long term island wide solutions for sanitation systems and will also extend to the outer islands.
As part of the preparatory work, the WATSAN team in conjunction with Public Health inspectors are in the process of carrying out sanitation inspections of particular households in the target area. Other partners in the initiative are Ministry of Marine Resources to who carry out monthly water quality monitoring, Environment Service for regulations and consents and Southern Cross University in Australia who we hope to have on board at a later stage towill assist with monitoring the on-site systems.
Letters of notification relating to the inspections were hand delivered to the households within the pilot scheme by the members of Muri Environment Care group as their way to assist the WATSAN team with reaching the households. Sanitation inspections began late last week and so far over 40 properties have been visited.
The reason purpose for the inspections is to find out what condition the current systems are in. and whether there is any potential to cluster or share systems between neighbouring properties, perhaps on the common boundary properties. Once the data from the inspections has been collected and collated by the WATSAN and MOH team, they can identify which systems need to be remediated or replaced as a matter of priority. Households are the focus after recent studies showed that residences generate 45% of the pollution compared to 35% by commercial accommodation properties and 12% by animals and 8% from other sources. Funding for the upgrades were a source of many questions, but in short, householders will be expected to contribute some funds toward the systems with special regard to any genuine ‘hardship’ cases that might be identified.
The team hope to start physical work by the end of 2011 beginning with the priority sites and invite the community to come and see the WATSAN at their office situated to the side of the Muri Meeting House or to call them on 22648.
MOIP press release

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

Copyright 2006 Cook Islands Herald online . All rights reserved.