bird national enviroment service
Connect With Us!
Cook Islands International Waters Project - Cook Islands National Environment Service
page-template-default,page,page-id-15880,page-child,parent-pageid-15807,bridge-core-1.0.2,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,side_menu_slide_from_right,qode-theme-ver-18.0.4,qode-theme-bridge,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.7,vc_responsive

Cook Islands International Waters Project

What is the IWP?

The International Waters Project is working together with pilot communities in 14 Pacific Island countries to find practical ways to strengthen environmental management at the community, national, and regional levels. The three focus areas are:

  • Sustainable Coastal Fisheries
  • Waste Reduction
  • Freshwater Protection

The other participating countries are:

Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Cook Islands International Waters Project

In the Cook Islands the International Waters Project is finding ways to help communities protect the quality of their own freshwater resources. The need to protect the freshwater resources of Rarotonga was identified as a priority issue to be addressed in the Priority Environmental Concerns Report (2002).

The project is working together with a pilot community to:

  • understand the root causes of the problem
  • identify possible low cost solutions
  • apply these solutions through the development and implementation of a community – based water catchment management plan.

Takuvaine Community

Focal Area:

The protection of freshwater resources.

Pilot Community:

The Takuvaine community lives on the watershed bordering the main town area on the northern side of the capital island Rarotonga. The community is divided into four tapere (smaller communities); Tutakimoa, Parekura, Takuvaine town and Takuvaine valley.


The Takuvaine water catchment supplies much of the water for Avarua, Rarotonga but the water quality is coming under increasing pressure of contamination due to the unrestricted access of people and animals to the catchment area. There is currently no water treatment in Rarotonga and locals and tourists are advised to boil their drinking water.


The Cook Islands IWP is working together with the Takuvaine Community to find ways to improve the management of freshwater in the Cook Islands. The programme’s main objectives are to:

*Facilitate the development and implementation of a freshwater management plan for   the Takuvaine Community to help minimise harmful activities above the water intake and;
*To work with stakeholders to develop a freshwater management strategy for   Rarotonga and ultimately, for the Cook Islands.

This community-based work is also being supported by activities to raise awareness and advocate for change at the national level.

Where to next?

An economic valuation of Rarotonga’s watersheds was completed in April 2005 which estimates the potential costs that can be saved if watershed pollution on Rarotonga is properly managed. A pdf version is available to view here (Economic Valuation Report).

The project’s major activity is the development and implementation of a water catchment management plan, in conjunction with the landowners, for the Takuvaine water catchment. A legislative review is currently underway and is expected to be completed by April 2006 to coincide with the endorsement and implementation of the Takuvaine Water Catchment Management Plan. The lessons learnt from this activity will hopefully lead to the reservation of all water catchment areas of Rarotonga by the project.

CI IWP continues to raise awareness about the project and water catchment management through various media such as television and radio campaigns, newsletters, posters, brochures, community meetings, materials/activities for youth organizations and schools and articles featuring nationally and regionally in the local papers, regional magazines and on the net, and presentations whenever possible.

This project will conclude at the end of 2006.

Project Stories

IWP Champion Profiles

The IWP countries have produced media articles profiling “champions” who are actively working to improve the management of waste, water or coastal fisheries within their IWP pilot communities. Cook Islands IWP profiles Mrs Terii Simpson of the Takuvaine pilot community.

IWP Management Profiles

The IWP countries profiled “managers” who are actively working with IWP pilot projects in their country. Mr. Vaitoti Tupa, Director of the Cook Islands National Environment Service shares information on how the IWP is helping to improve the management of freshwater at the national level.

Institutional Arrangement

The lead agency responsible for managing the Cook Islands IW Project is the Cook Islands National Environment Service. The Cook Islands IWP project manager is Ms. Tania Temata. The National Coordinator is Mr. Tauraki Raea who is assisted by Ms. Deyna Marsh. A National Task Force made up of key stakeholders from government, non-government agencies, and the local community, is responsible for overseeing the project. This Task Force is also responsible for finding ways to use the community-based activities to improve the management of freshwater resources throughout Rarotonga and the Cook Islands.

For more information about the International Waters Project in the Pacific Region visit:




Mr.Tauraki Raea
Ms.Deyna Marsh
National Environment Service
PO Box 371
Phone: (682) 21256
Fax: (682) 22256



Project Coordination Unit
International Waters Project
Pacific Regional Environment Programme
PO Box 40
Phone: (685) 21929
Phone/Fax: (685) 20231