28 Aug 2018

Water shortage on Penrhyn in Cook Islands reaches critical level

3:42 pm on 28 August 2018

Another 100,000 litres of water has been sent to Penrhyn in the northern Cook Islands as a water shortage on the island reaches a critical level.

Water tanks in Penrhyn, Cook Islands

Water tanks in Penrhyn, Cook Islands Photo: RNZI / Mary Baines

Penrhyn has been hit by severe water shortages since June, and while an initial 100,000 litre shipment was sent there in July, the government said another shipment was needed because the shortage is expected to worsen.

The Cook Islands News reported that the situation has been manageable since the first shipment of water, but with many people returning from Te Maeva Nui celebrations on Rarotonga this month and below-average rainfall forecast, the water supply is expected to be under even more pressure.

The government said a sufficient amount of rainfall is not expected to fall over the northern islands until at least November.

While the initial shipment of water cost the government $US51,000 and included the purchase of four 25,000 litres tanks, the latest shipment cost came to $US22,000.

The government said any further shipments of water to Penrhyn would depend on rainfall over the coming months.