HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 592: 30 November 2011

Water supply improvement project on Rarotonga
Representatives from the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) were recently on Rarotonga to provide engineering and technical assistance to the Ministry of Infrastructure & Planning (MOIP) in the water sector.
The visit follows a request made by the Minister, the Honourable Teariki Heather while in China in September 2011 to address long term plans in regards to increasing water storage, and implement a strategic direction for provision of clean water in Rarotonga. At present tThe water supply on Rarotonga is distributed through a network of various sized pipeline network.
Water is initially captured off the 12 water galleries intakes. The intakes are mainly of “Ramos” type. Located inland from 12 water catchments areas on Rarotonga. MOIP has recently rehabilitated two intakes being Avana and Turangi and is in the process of tendering both intake and road works to the remaining intakes.
Water is Gravity fed via trunk-mains and as the public will have recently experienced, the continuous decrease in pressure resulted in some areas of Rarotonga being without water. Various materials, namely AC, PVC and galvanize pipe are used to transport water to the people by the network distribution to household without charges and treated. There has been in that regard some debate about introducing a cost recovery, as although water is “free”, the service and maintenance is appropriated in the Ministry’s annual budget.

The general public will be no strangers to the fact that the water supply on Rarotonga faces many problems that impact on its performance. The main ones are :
• Inadequate supply at times of prolong drought.
• General poor condition of water supply network system.
• Limited management of water supply.
• Leakage and wastage of water.
Leakage and wastage of water is always an allowable amount of water that leak. Accelerated leakages however are unacceptable and this issue can be clearly managed through and by a full replacement of the whole aged network that the Minister is committed to achieving. It is estimated that between 50 – 60 percent of water is lost through leakages in the ring mains and distribution network thus contributing to pressure loss in the system. Until available funding resources for this big ticket item comes on line, the Ministry however works hard to ensure that breakages on the network are quickly fixed.
“Water is a top priority and the Ministry is addressing the issues as a matter of urgency “ according to the Infrastructure and Planning Minister, Hon Teariki Heather. The Minister also reiterated that while there has been many reports and studies undertaken, the engineering component has not come to fruition.
Therefore the assistance provided by the People’s Republic of China with expert Water Engineers to scope and completely overhauled our water system with modern technology was warmly appreciated.
What did they find ?

• Occasional poor performance of the intakes
- Inefficient production at times
- Debris/contaminants are not always filtered out of the system.

• Inadequate supply during drought
- Water supply divided in 7 sectors
- Western side of the island is always at risk

• Poor conditions of the distribution network.
- Aged pipeline – high wear on the network
- High losses through leakages
• Water Quality
- Water supplied in raw form direct from stream
• Free and available supply.
- No incentive to conserve water/fix leaking taps/cistern.
- High wastage – by many of those living 20m elevation.
• Limited information on supply and consumption.
- No metering thus limited consumption information.
• Management
- Shortage of Engineers
- Resource limitation
• Limited use of rainwater.
• Rehabilitate the Intakes
• Implement solutions for the water treatment
• Replace areas of the trunk line pipes
• Replace areas of the Ring main
• Install meters & look at ways to implement cost recovery for water
• Mantainance of water supply system.
Water Demand
The Islands of Rarotonga has an area of 67.17km(square) and has a population of 14,150 consisting of 9,400 local residents plus visitor population of 2000 – 2500 per month. Rarotonga is the country’s dominant driver of growth, brought about by the development of tourism. It would be reasonable to assume that each visitor and resident population would use 300 litres of water each day. Thus, given a population of approx 12,000 at any one time water usage would be 3,600 cubic meters per day.
It is obvious that replacing the whole Island ring-main is at present fully justified. - -Charles Pitt

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.