Cook Islanders Urged To Conserve Water

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Rarotonga wells are operating below capacity

By Phillipa Webb

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Oct. 5, 2015) – Authorities are urging the public to conserve precious water supplies as intakes across Rarotonga operate well below capacity and the island faces three months with little or no rainfall.

Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) water works division manager Wilson Rani says water intake capacity around Rarotonga is working at just 20 per cent to 50 per cent, mainly around Avatiu, Nikao and other elevated areas on the island.

The stream flow at water intakes across the island has dropped, reducing the pressure in the pipeline network and the flow of water to homes and businesses.

The stream at the Avatiu intake usually supplies up to 40 to 60 litres of water a second, but because of limited rainfall now supplies just 6 litres of water a second.

Rani says the intake feeds all of the Avatiu back road area right through Nikao to the golf club, and this will be the area most affected by water shortages.

All ICI can do at this stage is perform regular maintenance on the intakes and monitor the situation closely, he says.

"We are urging the public to please take full responsibility of water consumption in their homes."

"Information from the Cook Islands Met Service, ICI and NIWA indicates Rarotonga and the Southern Cook islands, will experience less or even no rainfall for the next three months, so we need to take this seriously."

ICI is urging island residents to be conservative with the way they use water supplies and to educate young family members not to play with water during the shortage. Rani says ICI will be able to use tankers to fill affected residents’ water tanks at a minimal cost.

Tips to preserve water:

"Being conservative during this time will be enough to ensure we all have access to water," Rani says.

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