Now that stage two of the project has begun in Turangi, Brown said the government was starting to get some figures on the actual cost, as a result of the design being finalised.
“We expect there to be some additional funding required after our first order costing of $60 million for the project,” Brown said.
“We’re quite happy after speaking with New Zealand. They’re committed to remaining part of the project, and looking at options to meet any additional costs that may be incurred as we complete the project in two years’ time.”
Last week Opposition deputy leader James Beer told CINews he suspected the government would ask for more funds from their New Zealand counterpart to complete the project.
“The people of the Cook Islands are potentially going to be looking at a bill of close to $100 million, is this government going to ask for more handouts from the New Zealand government to try and complete the project?” Beer asked.
“Are they going to impress upon the Chinese government that although the warranty period has expired that the Chinese should still take responsibility when a number of those concerns were brought to the attention of this government during stage one?”
During the last week’s state visit, New Zealand provided their first tranche payment of around $4.5 million for the start of stage two of the project.
Brown said the commissioning of the stage one ring main connection was expected to finish shortly.
This project which is being handled by local company Landholdings, has reached Titikaveka, and the final connection is expected be made in the next couple of weeks.
Brown said that there had been no particular issues with the ring mains, although some concerns had been raised about the quality of materials used.
“We’re getting tests to determine what quality we purchased from the contractor for the supply of these ring mains.”
Commenting on a letter to the editor of CINews this week from local resident John Scott regarding the likelihood of Te Mato Vai delivering safe potable (drinkable) water, Brown said that he believed potable water was “a possibility”.
He said the design had been put in place to provide potable water, and that options to provide it, which will involve treatment, were being explored.
Chlorine is commonly used in developed countries to treat potable water delivered to households, but Brown said there had been objections from people in the community about using it.
“We have a process to go through over the next couple of years while the intakes are being built and upgraded, to consult with people as to what they want in terms of disinfection,” Brown said.
“I’ve been advised that there are also other options to look at, other than chlorination of water. One of them is the ozone treatment.”
“We’ll go through that process in determining what type of disinfectant to produce potable water at the household level.”