13 Oct 2011

Cook Islands northern group latest to report lack of water

6:56 am on 13 October 2011

Communities in the far north of the Cook Islands are close to running out of drinking water as a dry weather spell continues.

This comes after an international aid effort to get emergency supplies to nearby drought hit Tuvalu and Tokelau, while Samoa has brought in rationing.

Don Wiseman reports:

"Those living on the northern Cook Islands atoll of Penrhyn estimate they have about two weeks of drinking water left, unless it rains heavily. It's currently subject to water rationing, with couples allocated a daily ration of 20 litres intended for drinking. Penrhyn's acting secretary Andrew Vaeau says it has been a month since the island received any rain and hardly any has fallen in the last four months. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Planning says the northern group is doing it tough at the moment, but that the situation is stable. In a release it says they should get a respite this week with some rain forecast. Drought is also hitting the southern atoll of Aitutaki, where crops have been affected. There is also a growing shortage on Rarotonga, with residents urged to be conservative in their water use."