The injunction bid comes from the Aronga Mana of Avana Nui, and the Aronga Mana and landowners representatives of Turangi, Takuvaine, Totokoitu, Taipara, Matavera, and Tupapa.
It comes after government last week announced the commissioning of all 10 intakes and a trial of the coagulant poly-aluminium chloride, beginning at the new Matavera water intake.
Manavaroa Mataiapo Tutara Philip Nicholas said this latest court action sought to compel government to carry out an extensive independent Environmental Impact Assessment to find out whether the chemicals will harm people and the environment.
Government lawyer Lloyd Miles said they had filed court papers opposing the legal bid, and were still in discussions with representatives.
“It is intended to proceed with commissioning works but always in a manner that will not breach the Environment Act 2003 and any permits issued by the Rarotonga Environment Authority,” said Miles.
But Nicholas said that after months and years of reasonable, trusting relationships between government and landowners, there still remained issues about the lack of respect, transparency and information requested by landowner representatives, which wasn’t given in a timely manner.
“We understand that about 1 per cent of this water is used for drinking and food preparation,” he said. “It begs the question, why would government spend millions of dollars to treat all of the water.
“If government cannot fix the potholes on our main roads, how is it possible for us to have confidence, in the application of potentially toxic chemicals into our drinking water?”
Nicholas said they opposed chemicals in the delivery of drinking water because the Ministry of Health, water authority and infrastructure agencies could not guarantee safety in all its processes to deliver water to people’s homes.
Nicholas said the Aronga Mana and landowners would continue to explore any potential hazards to people’s health and to the ecosystems. “The Aronga mana and landowners continue to allow the use of our lands to host the water infrastructure at no cost to government, which ultimately translates to no cost to our people,” he said, “and therefore, we continue to be firm on our position on free water to our Matakeinanga.”