The Cook Islands Government’s Project Steering Group has developed a near-shore dredging plan to remove sediment from the mouth of the Vai Te Renga Stream (near Pacific Resort), using the sediment along eroded areas of the Muri Lagoon foreshore.
This cleanup program is part of the Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai water sanitation project.
“We think this will improve the along shore movement of the Lagoon water, while helping to replenish sand on the eroded beach area at Nukupure sports field,” the group said in their latest newsletter.
In December, the group lodged an Environmental Impact Assessment with NES for this work.
In January 2017, the Cook Islands Government launched the Mei Te Vai Ki Te Vai project to improve the water quality of the lagoons in Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
The Project Steering Group, led by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, includes a number of key government agencies that together provide unified governance and policy direction.
The project includes a comprehensive environmental monitoring and investigation program, the design of long-term measures for improved wastewater management and the establishment of a state-owned water and wastewater authority.
There is a widely-held public view that poor water circulation in the Muri Lagoon is caused by sediment build-up in the lagoon and/or at Ngatangiia Harbor mouth.
A number of concerned residents have asked why dredging in the area hasn’t been done yet.
The water flows in the lagoon are being studied now by coastal specialists, and a model will be built over the next few months.
The model will be used to run simulations for dredging in a range of areas to predict how the pattern of water flow will respond.
To ensure all environmental effects can be properly accounted for, the environmental experts will not commit to large scale dredging until the field work and modelling is complete.