8 Jun 2005

Plan to ease water shortages on Pukapuka in northern Cook Islands

1:40 pm on 8 June 2005

A long term solution to water shortages on Pukapuka in the northern Cook Islands is being developed.

The mayor, Tere Mataio, says the atoll was faced with severe shortages when cyclone Percy left widespread damage at the end of February, just before the dry season.

He says they no longer want to rely solely on water tanks because when the roofs were destroyed, the tanks couldn't fill up and they've had to rely on supplies of drinking water arriving with relief shipments.

Mr Mataio says they've dug down to find an underground source and plan to use that bore water in the future.

"We are looking forwards to building a safe place for the water so that we can put a pump on, and pump it up to a special tank. So, we are going to put a tap on for everybody to use it."

Mr Mataio says there's still little food because of salt still remaining in the taro patch but they've ordered seeds for other vegetables, which should be on the next shipment.

And, he says the rebuilding effort has gone well with most people now back living in their own homes, although about six houses still need reconstructing.