The deluge of rain in the early hours of Wednesday morning brought relief to many households, who were pleased to see their water tanks filled to the brim.
The downpour, lasting over a couple of hours, also
provided a sigh of relief to Rarotonga’s water agency, To Tatou Vai, which had
been asking the public to conserve water following a dry spell.
According to Nathan Tisam, operational observer at the
Cook Islands Meteorological Services, the rainfall collected around the island
on Wednesday was significantly higher than the records from the “last bit of
good rain” which was early last month (December 2023).
Tisam confirmed in Nikao the station recorded 32.4
millimetres of rain, while out in the countryside of Titikaveka over double the
amount of rainfall was collected, amounting to 73.6mm.
The last bit of good rain Rarotonga had experienced
was on December 4, 2023, when only 20.4mm of rainfall was collected.
Tisam explained: “We are currently experiencing the El
Niño period and more dry spells are expected.”
He urged people to continue conserving water.
Rarotonga’s water authority, To Tatou Vai (TTV), has
been urging the community and tourism operators to conserve water, after
receiving information that some resorts were refilling their swimming pools
TTV emphasised last week that this practice was
unacceptable considering the island’s current low water intake situation.
The water authority had also explained that the low to
no water pressure situation some locations are experiencing across the island,
especially inland, back road districts, and on elevated ground, is due to the
lack of water in the system.
Prior to yesterday’s rainfall, TTV’s water catchments
were only producing around 65 per cent of their capacity.
Meanwhile, according to the World Meteorological
Organization, the ongoing El Niño event is expected to last at least until
April 2024, influencing weather patterns and contributing to a further spike in
temperatures both on land and in the ocean.
El Niño is expected to fuel further temperature
increases, and its impacts will continue into 2024. It will exacerbate extreme
weather and climate events, like heatwaves, floods, and droughts, the World
Meteorological Organization said.
El Niño means warmer water spreads further and stays
closer to the surface, reported the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
This releases more heat into the atmosphere, creating wetter and warmer air.