Lagoons pristine, streams stagnant

Wednesday July 01, 2020 Written by Published in Environment
Avatiu stream, which broke its banks and flooded homes and businesses mere months ago, is now nothing more than dry rocks. 20063016 Avatiu stream, which broke its banks and flooded homes and businesses mere months ago, is now nothing more than dry rocks. 20063016

Ministry of Marine Resources says half of Rarotonga’s streams are dried up or stagnant.

Six of the 12 streams are not flowing, due to low rainfalls on Rarotonga.

These are Akapuao, Betela, Avatiu, Pouara, Papua and Takuvaine.

To Tatou Vai says the weather forecast for rain hasn't been consistent and the public cannot rely on this. They have called on the public to save water

The streams recorded normal pH levels and salinity, where the Ministry says the overall water quality was acceptable.

MMR in their water quality reports for June, showed that enterococci bacteria at Avana and Paringaru were at good and excellent levels, respectively but the remaining sites were at extremely poor levels.

With the low rainfall currently experienced last month, Tikioki recorded a higher average rainfall (7.0 mm) and Nikao recorded more days of no rainfall (17 days) for the month of May. 

The highest one-day rainfall was 58.9 mm at Nikao and 49.2 mm at Tikioki, both on Sunday. May 10. 

Aitutaki is also facing the same situation, where the Ministry says only two streams; Vaipae and Tautu, are flowing. The rest are dry.

Lagoon tests for both Rarotonga and Aitutaki also showed positive quality results.

MMR senior fisheries officer Teina Tuatai says their reports provide a snapshot of the current status of the lagoon water quality, which changes with the seasons and environmental conditions such as during high rainfall events. 

"We cannot directly attribute the lagoon water quality to tourists, particularly as water cycles take years to work through the physical environment and are influenced by multiple factors and parameters from sources that are natural, anthropogenic or otherwise."

Tuatai said the lack of water in streams is likely a result of us being in our ‘dry season’ which lasts from about April to November each year, before moving back in to the wet season.

 

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