Water Works technician Raututi Taringa says that once the flow of the water has eased, workers will be able to excavate mud and debris.
Over the last two weeks, heavy rain has battered parts of Rarotonga. Last Monday, 10 of the 12 water intakes on the island were blocked by debris and mud. The Papua intake suffered damage, apparently after being snapped. Taringa says that intake has now been repaired and is once again supplying water.
The presence of sediment in the water caused alarm last week, with WATSAN advising all residents to get their water from approved water stations around the island. Director of Funding and Planning for the health ministry, Roana Mataitini says the health risks from sediment in the water depends on the type of contamination and on the quantity of sediments present.
Mataitini says that the Ministry of Health regularly carries out bacteriological tests. These tests are carried out on water stations throughout Rarotonga and follow World Health Organisation water quality standards. She advises residents to change or clean their water filters regularly, or to otherwise boil water before drinking it. The most common indicator of infection is diarrhoea and you should seek medical attention if symptoms persist.
Meanwhile, Water Works have continued to flush out pipelines around the island get mud or debris out of the water supply. However, they also suggest that residents run their taps until the water is clear before consuming it.
Leaking or cracked pipes and worn rubber seals allow soil, sand, and other debris into the water supply. Taringa says the pipes in Rarotonga are over 60 years old and that the new ring main being installed under the Te Mato Vai project will help keep sediment out of the water network.