Utilities department continues to address the island’s ongoing power and water issues

Director of Utilities Clinton Chapman

The Department of Utilities is continuing to address some of the issues affecting power generation and water reticulation. 

BCN News spoke with Director of the department Clinton Chapman yesterday who explained some of the issues affecting power over the festive season but have since been sorted. 

“Unbeknown to people over the Christmas period and New Year, the new 1 MegaWatt Generator we have on rental from New Zealand had a catastrophic failure. It’s a mechanical issue and because we have it on rental it’s all covered by warranty.”

“We had an engineer come up immediately over Christmas, made a diagnosis to find out what was the cause of the problem and it’s no fault of our end and how we operate the machine.”

“And soon after that we managed to talk to the New Zealand High Commission and New Zealand Defence Force, the Secretary to Government Office to arrange a Hercules to bring up a new engine to install,” said Clinton. 

In the past couple of days, the team has been working alongside the three engineers who arrived last Friday to replace the old engine with a brand new one.

Clinton Chapman said the issues with water supply continues to affect the supply to some villages. BCN News understands the village of Alofi North had intermittent water pressure issues over the past few days. 

Chapman said that the Department of Utilities and Water is working on another major project to address the longstanding and much wider problem of a very old water reticulation system around the island. 

In the meantime the notice to boil water before drinking remains in place for the island, people are asked to use water for drinking from the UV treatment systems installed in all villages. 

“We have completed the village systems. We are on to the government departments now. We’ve installed three of those systems. So the water team will be slowly working their way around. 

“There are some sight things that we need to take into consideration when we install these systems. But for the village ones, we need to follow up and come back and put up a how to the systems properly and we will put up an instruction note in each of those boxes in the village,” said Clinton. 

The installation of UV treatment systems in the villages was funded by NZ Aid, the Niue government and the Ridge to Reef project. 

The department of utilities is now working towards a major water and sanitation project to be funded by the Australian government.

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