The ring main commissioning work, carried out by local contractors Landholdings Ltd, began in mid-January 2018 with a programme of 26 weeks’ work.
All new ring mains were live as of mid-May, around two months ahead of schedule.
This was thanks to great collaboration between Landholdings Ltd, the Te Mato Vai Project Management Unit (PMU), GHD engineers, Infrastructure Cook Islands and other parties such as service providers BlueSky and Te Aponga Uira.
Commercial buildings have been receiving water through the new ring main since mid-May as they are directly connected to it.
Residential properties are connected to a sub-main, which is in turn connected to the new ring main. Residential properties are also now receiving water from the new ring main, through the sub-main.
The old ring main now needs to be shut-off or “decommissioned” as it will no longer be required. Before this can happen, the PMU will be starting some investigations next week to see which residential properties are still directly connected to the old ring main.
There will be a need for those residential properties to be re-connected to a sub-main. This will ensure that when the old ring main is shut off, those residential properties will receive water from the new ring main.
The results of the PMU investigations will also help scope the decommissioning work. A contract for this work will then be tendered, with the old ring main being shut off forever shortly after.
During the ring main commissioning process, the PMU have tried to minimise water supply disruptions as much as possible by providing affected community and commercial operators with as much advance notice as possible of when a water supply disruption was programmed. This has been very successful, resulting in a low number of complaints received from the public about the water disruptions.
The water improvement project is the largest infrastructure project in the history of the Cook Islands and a Cook Islands water partnership with the government of New Zealand and the People’s Republic of China. It aims to improve the standard of living for the people of Rarotonga by providing a reliable and safe supply of water to all.
- Matariki Wilson