Rain delivers ‘a rough two weeks’

Wednesday April 25, 2018 Written by Published in Environment

Staff at the Water, Waste and Sanitation (WATSAN) division of Infrastructure Cook Islands have had “a rough last two weeks”, since heavy rain a fortnight ago caused major issues around Rarotonga.

According to a WATSAN Facebook post yesterday, “two intake pipes were wiped out and there were ring main bursts all over the island”.

The post went on to say that almost all of the island’s intake roads were damaged, two severely – and to make matters worse, work had to be done by hand in several instances as the demand for machinery was such that there was not enough equipment to go around.

“It’s been insanely busy, especially that first week,” says WATSAN director Jaime Short. “All our staff were out.

We usually have three staff based in the Water office, so I was taking all the calls.

“The phone was ringing all morning after that big downpour: people with no water, drains blocked and threatening homes.

It was probably like that for all the divisions, especially Civil Works. The whole ICI team and the DPM were on to it.”

While many homes, particularly on the south side of Rarotonga were without water in the days following the downpour, WATSAN and Te Mato Vai have now repaired all the damage to the island’s water network that was caused by the flood.

Unfortunately, the old ring mains continue to burst.

“Almost every day there is a ring main to repair,” says Short. “So we are looking forward to the decommissioning of the old ring main.”

In the wake of the flood’s effects, Short says engineers are looking at possible solutions for future-proofing the infrastructure, with more information to be made available at a later date.

            - Shaun Bamber/Release

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