Last year, the EU signed an agreement to supply about $4 million over three years for the $18.5 million programme which is also supported by the Cook Islands government and the governments of New Zealand and Australia.
The programme, originally designed to take place over four years, aims to improve the quality of water resources in Rarotonga and Aitutaki through upgraded sanitation, reducing the risks posed to tourism, public health and the environment.
The key activity in delivering the programme is upgrading on site sanitation systems at up to 800 homes in Rarotonga and 200 homes in Aitutaki.
Following the delays, the programme, which is spearheaded by the Water Waste and Sanitation (WATSAN) unit of ICI is now projected to end on June 30, 2019.
WATSAN’s programme administrator Tangi Taoro says a number of factors resulted in the EU’s concerns, including delays caused by last year’s general elections.
Taoro said delays in homeowners whose systems have been assessed and were eligible for the upgrade, paying their $1000 household contribution had also hindered the programme.
SUP was launched in Aitutaki in June, 2015 where the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for ICI Teariki Heather and ICI officials met with the mayor, members of the island council and island administration office.
Taoro said a second visit was proposed for the end of the next month which will include public meetings and the start of the assessments of up to 200 properties within the focal area of Amuri and Ureia
“At this stage, the SUP is on target for completion by June 30, 2019.”