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NIWA warns of ‘water stress’ to come

Thursday July 12, 2018 Written by Published in Weather

The Cook Islands is at risk of a high level of “water stress” as a result of abnormally low rainfall predicted over the next three months, says New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

 

An institute spokesman says El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO)-neutral conditions have persisted over the last few months, but there is the potential for El Nino conditions to develop during August-October.

During an El Nino or La Nina, the changes in temperature of the Pacific Ocean affect the pattern of tropical rainfall from Indonesia to the West Coast of South America. These changes in tropical rainfall affect weather patterns throughout the world.

During the five-month “dry-season” period from May to October, the Cook Islands is predicted to receive only 800mm of rain -  well below normal rainfall levels. The Cook Islands Meteorological Service predicts a lower than normal rainfall for the Northern Cook Islands and normal or above normal rainfall for the Southern Cook Islands during this period.

The meteorological service is again advising residents of all islands to be careful with water usage.

At the beginning of this month, the government transported 100,000 litres of water to the atoll of Penrhyn to provide relief for residents facing water issues on the northern group island. The writer of a letter to CINews subsequently claimed some water tanks on the island could not be used and were in dire need of repair.

The writer claimed the water tanks and guttering systems on government buildings were particularly in need of repair and had been totally neglected for many years.