SPC: Drilling for Tonga’s Water Quality

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Suva, Fiji – The first three of six boreholes planned for Tongatapu have been drilled to a depth of approximately 50 metres near the international airport and at the Mataki‘eua wellfield in Tonga.

Funded by the EU Disaster Risk Reduction Project in Eight Pacific ACP States (B-Envelope) and implemented by the Applied Geoscience and Technology (SOPAC) Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), the project is working closely with Tonga’s Ministry of Lands, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources to bore holes that will be used to monitor water quality on Tongatapu.

‘Most households on Tongatapu receive water sourced from the underground water lens and piped through the reticulation system. The data collected through monitoring the water quality, including salinity, are essential to good management of the water supply,’ said SPC’s George Beck, Project Manager.

[Drilling has also taken place at Fuamotu borehole on Tongatapu]

He said that the EU is providing €1.1 million to address water security for the Kingdom of Tonga. This has made possible the upgrade of the Mataki‘eua wellfield that includes construction of new well sheds, and the installation of new electric submersible pumps, water meters and fittings to improve efficiency of extraction and security.

The drilling programme, which began in June this year, was expected to be completed by the end of September.

‘The project is also working with the Tonga Community Development Trust to raise awareness of water issues, promote good conservation and management practices, and supply rainwater catchment tanks to the outer island communities,’ said Mr Beck.