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Water stations prove popular

Wednesday 22 February 2023 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Health, Local, National

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Water stations prove popular
Minister for the Punanga Nui Market, George Maggie Angene at the new water station in Taua Terevete Park (formerly Constitution Park). PHOTO: AL WILLIAMS/22050202

Use of bottled water for household’s supply of drinking water has dropped over the past few years, as people start making more use of water stations.

The results, from the recently-released 2021 Census, show that the public water main is the major source of water supply in the Cook Islands. 

“A total of 3990 (85.2 per cent) of private dwellings are connected to the water mains compared to 3700 (83.4 per cent) in 2016,” the Census says. 

“Over 90 per cent of the Rarotonga households had water supplied directly from the public water main. The next most common supply is the water tank with 2401 (51.3 per cent) households, prevalent in the outer islands particularly in the Northern islands.”

The main source of drinking water reported by households in 2021 was from water stations (39.9 per cent), 21.5 per cent reported own filtered water piped into dwelling. 

Bottled or bought water was lower in this census, 9.5 per cent compared to 34.2 per cent in 2016. Filtered tap water and bottled or bought water was more common in Rarotonga compared to the outer islands which are heavily dependent on rainwater tanks as their main source of drinking water.

There are about 20 drinking water stations across Rarotonga, offering UV-treated potable water. 

Water provider To Tatou Vai’s spokesman Walter Tuarae-White said he was pleased with the results. 

“TTV is very pleased that the water stations are being used by the community and we will be installing more visible signage at water locations to encourage our visitors to utilize the facilities,” Tuarae-White said. 

“The most critical and pleasing result is the reduction of bought bottled water meaning perhaps more people are refilling at the water stations thus reducing plastic waste. Accordingly, we will be reaching out to stakeholders and partners in a concerted campaign to make more of our visitors aware of our UV treated safe drinking water.”