The replacement of the ring main has been ongoing, with work now underway in Kavera. Consultation with landowners regarding the design of the treatment and storage facilities took place last month.
Construction at the first intake site, in Turangi, is set to begin soon. This will see the installation of water treatment facilities, additional storage capacity, access road upgrades and the replacement of some existing trunk mains.
The initiative is one of the largest infrastructure projects undertaken in the Cook Island’s history, with many kilometres of pipe being installed and tested around Rarotonga. The Cook Islands, New Zealand, and China have created history by working together on the project. It is the first time that any three countries have worked together to provide a major development initiative in the Pacific.
The project has been ongoing since 2014, and is expected to finish in 2020. Stage one has seen over 56 kilometres worth of pipe be laid and pressure-tested on the island.
Stage two will see the upgrade of 10 out of the 12 intakes in water catchment valleys around Rarotonga. These catchments will collect water from springs and streams, feeding it into storage tanks and directly into the water distribution system.
The new treatment facilities will allow for the chemical treatment of water in the future. However, the introduction of chemical treatment is not part of the Te Mato Vai project. Water treatment is an issue set to be discussed with the community before a decision is officially made.
According to the World Health Organisation’s drinking water standards, without the addition of chlorine to remove harmful bacteria, the water supply is not considered safe drinking water.