4 May 2005

Cook Islands opposition leader calls for government action over water shortage

1:54 pm on 4 May 2005

The Cook Islands opposition leader, Dr Terepai Maoate, is calling on the government to do more about a critical water shortage in the Northern Group.

He says the problem is compounded for people on the islands of Pukapuka, Nassau and Palmerston where many roofs and water tanks were destroyed following cyclone Percy more than two months ago, so little water is able to be collected.

Dr Maoate says although there's a desalination plant on Pukapuka, it's not providing sufficient supplies for the 600 plus population.

And, he says people are being forced to use bore water.

"That's brackish water and even though you sterilise it by boiling and all that, it's still not suitable for drinking - there's too much salt in it. The desalination machine is very inadequate and I should think government should be looking at sending another desalination machine over there."

Dr Maoate says the government needs to be doing much more than it is.