Representatives from Te Mato Vai (TMV) are this week continuing their investigations in Titikaveka, establishing which properties are still connected to the old ring main.
“It was predicted from the outset that there will be some unknown connections just due to missing records since the installation of the (old) pipeline,” said Water, Waste and Sanitation Unit (WATSAN) director Jaime Short.
The project has been ongoing since 2014 and is expected to finish in 2020. Stage one has seen more than 56 kilometres of pipe laid and pressure tested on the island.
The project management unit in charge of the water upgrade anticipates that the old ring main will be decommissioned very soon. This will then be followed by a full focus on stage two of the project.
The contract for stage two of TMV was awarded to New Zealand construction company McConnell Dowell late last year and involves the upgrade of 10 water intakes, the construction of treatment facilities, and improvements to storage capacity, as well as the replacement of trunk mains and some improvements to access roads.
The TMV initiative is one of the largest infrastructure projects ever undertaken in the history of the Cook Islands and involves the country partnering with both New Zealand and China, making it the first time that any three countries have worked together to provide a major development initiative in the Pacific. It is also the first time China has partnered with a developed nation for an aid project.
Stage two of the TMV project 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 also 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. The project management unit says 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.