Aitutaki water concerns

Thursday March 22, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Reportedly there was a news item on TV where an overseas engineer suggested digging for groundwater in Aitutaki.


Let's hope they don't proceed with that idea. Why not? Because once the freshwater groundwater is exhausted, seawater will seep into the space created. The locals are aware of that possibility already.

I have visited Aitutaki a couple of times in recent years, and it's very pretty, but the water supply tasted brackish (freshwater and seawater mixed) to me.

The homes do however have water tanks which provide them with lovely drinking water. Our hosts at the time also provided us with plenty of nu as refreshments.

As for the proposal, the local engineer on the news clip noted the possibility of seawater intrusion but said it in Maori. He was probably too polite to contradict his papa’a counterpart by airing his reservations in English.

Please let's take note of our traditional or local knowledge in these matters and not inadvertently ruin the limited freshwater supply available.

            Concerned Citizen

1 comment

  • Comment Link David Hawkins Monday, 26 March 2018 08:46 posted by David Hawkins

    In the US Virgin Islands, where they also experience water shortages, there is a policy for all new builds, must include a subterranean water cistern, the size of which must equal the area of the roof, the formulae is 10 gallons storage facility per one square foot of roof cover. Water cisterns provide 75% of residents water needs.
    All rainfall captured by the roof is drained into this cistern and used as a back up supply and for house hold and garden use, via filtered fitted pumps Old houses are required to have surface tanks and if possible separate underground water storage cisterns.
    On a recent visit to Rarotonga, I was somewhat surprised to note the absence of rain water storage facilities, notwithstanding the thousands of square footage of roofing on both public and private buildings and the frequency and volume of rainfall.
    Why not make above and below ground, rain water storage mandatory for all buildings ?. With the way Rarotonga is growing water shortages are going to become an ever present problem.

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