Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) is involved in a project to solve issues with the water supply at Tamarua village in Mangaia.
Due to declining stream levels, a deteriorating pipeline and a lack of water storage, water supply from the Veitatei stream has become unreliable, while access to the intake to maintain the supply is also causing problems.
This current ICI project is aligned with the Mangaia Island and Puna 2014-2018 Plan, and is a continuation of recommendations made over the last 10 years of water-related consultation for the island.
“By evaluating the options for improving the water reticulation supplied to Tamarua, this project will help to improve the quality of life for the village community by enabling them to have a reliable source of water for consumption, cooking, washing and sanitation purposes,” said water division manager Wilson Rani.
The project contributes towards the National Sustainable Development Goals and the effect of the options on the environment and the culture of the community are also being considered.
Following on the investigation work, the physical works for this project now include the construction of a new intake structure to provide water to Tamarua village.
A new rising main from the new intake to the village and two 25,000 litre water storage tanks will also be constructed.
Work is due to begin within the next month, and following the completion of the project the existing intake on the Veitatei stream will no longer be used.
The Cook Islands government is providing funding for the project and ICI will be responsible for overseeing implementation in consultation with the Mangaia Island Government, island council and Tamarua Kavana (paramount chief).
This group is responsible for coordinating the overall management and supervision of the Tamarua water project.
Other important elements of the project include water conservation awareness with the community.
“With the expected effects of climate change, water conservation is a very serious matter and we are considering these effects across all our projects,” director of planning and design Tenga Mana said.
ICI intends to explore further explore options in the future to improve water security in Mangaia, including investigations into groundwater water sources and another surface intake.
“We now know the mistakes of the past cannot be continued where in many places in the world, humans have extracted groundwater with no control and depleted it which causes a lot of problems for ecology which then impacts on humans too,” Rani said.
“We need to now implement lessons learned and ensure proper planning and practice so that groundwater harvesting does not exceed groundwater recharge.”