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Cook Islands

Manihiki Atoll


Conservation benefit: Creation of a 72-acre marine reserve for 30 years

Community benefit: Purchase of two UV water purification units and pump system

Date Approved: 01.2009


This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

Manihiki is a small atoll in the Northern Cook Islands, approximately 550 miles north of the capital Rarotonga. The extremely low-lying atoll has a population of 400 on the two inhabited islands. As is common with small isolated communities, water is a major concern on Manihiki, where the only source of potable water is rainwater stored in tanks. After prolonged periods of storage, this water can become contaminated and pose a health risk.

The people of Manihiki asked for Seacology’s help to buy two ultraviolet water purifying units and pump systems – one for each village – with spare parts. In exchange for this funding, Manihiki will declare 72 acres of their lagoon as a marine reserve for 30 years.

Project Updates

June 2020

The equipment is in a secure storage in Rarotonga, ready to be shipped to the island. At this time, however, Covid-19 restrictions allow only food and urgent supplies to be delivered.

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December 2019

Ten years on, the water purification units on this small island need repair. We authorized a maintenance grant so the community could replace worn-out equipment and keep the clean water flowing.

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June 2010

As of June 2010 field representative Allan Tuara reports that he has been informed by the project manager on Manihiki that both units are functioning and providing free clean drinking water to everyone. The community is very appreciative to Seacology for this gesture.

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November 2009

Purchase of the units will occur in August and installation should occur in September of 2009. The project is expected to take 3 months to complete. As of September 2009, due to the 2009 Pacific Games taking place in Rarotonga, the project start date was delayed. It is believed that construction will begin in October when the Manihiki mayor returns from the Games. As of November 2009 the water purification and pump systems have been installed and the project is complete.

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June 2009

As of February 2009 field representative Allan Tuara began working on setting up community meetings to complete pre-grant documentation and planning phases for the project. Seacology is currently waiting for notification from Mr. Tuara that the project is ready to begin and plans have been solidified.

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