13 Aug 2003

Cook Islands gets ADB go-ahead for water/electricity projects

5:31 pm on 13 August 2003

The Cook Islands is to fast track its upgrade of water and electricity projects for Rarotonga and Aitutaki after the Asian Development Bank agreed to extend loans to the country.

The deputy prime minister, Dr Terepai Maoate, says the growth of the tourist industry has meant that there is much more demand for those basic services.

Dr Maoate says the 5.3 million U.S. dollars that the ADB is prepared to loan the government will mean the projects can go ahead a lot more quickly.

"We already have ongoing water upgrade projects on both Rarotonga and Aitutaki...this will certainly be of great help to get those projects on water improvement, sanitation and flood management projects to go much faster and be adequately funded"

Dr Maoate says the power supply will be upgraded first on Rarotonga as it's urgently needed there due to increasing demands from the tourists.

The ADB is also providing some technical assistance grants, worth nearly 1.5 million U.S. dollars.

These will be used to assess the energy needs of Rarotonga as well as the water and sanitation needs on both the main island and Aitutaki.