Mitiaro is one of the southern islands of the Cook Islands group. Its 318 residents live on the west coast in four closely grouped villages. Most of the island is only about four feet above sea level, and the seepage of salt water has left the groundwater brackish and unfit for human consumption.
Seacology is funding the renovation of the communities’ eight 10,000-gallon water tanks, which currently leak and have minimal water-holding capabilities. Seacology is also providing 60 household waste bins to help curtail littering and support the island’s waste disposal and management program, as well as funding the construction of steps and handrails to better access two water caves.
In exchange, the Mitiaro communities will declare 2,965 acres of their island as a conservation area for 10 years. This includes all areas where two rare and endemic endangered species survive, the Ā’i sandalwood and Mitiaro fan palm.