OLD PROBLEMS FACE NEW COOK ISLANDS HOTEL

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By Lisa Williams

RAROTONGA, Cook islands (February 20, 1999 - Cook Islands News)---The 200-room Vaimaanga Hotel project which could be open this time next year is going to use an estimated 200,000 liters (52,000 gallons) of water a day at full occupancy -- and there are concerns over how that will affect the local distribution system.Water Supply Director Ben Parakoti says he's been contacted by the Environmental Service over the issue, but hasn't yet met the developers of the site.

"I don't know how they will deal with it and get their water, and I don't know what their new water demand is," Parakoti told Cook Islands News. "Until that's clear, I have no idea really as to what stage they are at in their planning and so forth."

He says based on water ratings for consumption in tourism accommodation, he knows the Club Med resorts estimate water use at 1 cubic meter (1,000 liters or 260 gallons) per room, per day. Applying the same principle to the 200 room, four star Vaimaanga Resort, poses the need for up to 200,000 liters (52,000 galls) if the resort is at 100% occupancy.

The figures are posing some food for thought among Vaimaanga residents and other villages supplied by the nearby Papua water intake.

Asked if there was potential in the land area behind the resort for a reservoir that could supply its water needs, Parakoti says there is potential for a water reservoir.

As for the electricity needs of the hotel, Te Aponga Uira's (TAU) Ron Bates says he's unable to give an exact figure of the demand from the site as the final design is not complete. Electrical engineers in New Zealand have estimated the consumption to peak to 500 kilowatts every day.

Based around that peak usage in the early evening, TAU is budgeting more than $2 million for a new diesel generator that can comfortably handle the demand. The successful bid from the current tender process for the generator won't be known until after March.

As for waste treatment, the Enviroflow containers on site are not likely to be used given the problems with the same system at Tepuka, Nikao.

Closest comparison to the new hotel is the 182-room Edgewater Resort, which puts out 2 cubic meters of waste per day. The waste is processed by Waste Removal contractors on a regular inter-weekly basis, with a waste plant on site to process liquid waste. Solid waste has a separate collection system and organic solids are handled through the Waste Management company. Recyclable cans are processed daily on site, says Edgewater manager Paul Boyce, and collected as volume demands.

For additional reports from the Cook Islands News Online, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Cook Islands New Online.

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