In a Pacific Island nation with diverse and geographically separated island communities, with basic needs not yet addressed, with high reliance on aid funds for project implementation, and with tourism as the leading element of the economy, it is understandable if one perceives proactive stormwater management as only secondary to potable water supply provision, sanitation improvement, lagoon water quality maintenance, and roads enhancement.
Despite the lack of spotlight for stormwater management in the Cook Islands, their initiatives and projects show that it has become an inherent component of every scheme. The reason is explained by the inevitable impact of uncontrolled surface water on private properties, the land, and the receiving water bodies. All these impacted objects are part of a Cook Islander’s sense of identity – significant to one’s culture, history, and family heritage.
The Cook Islands Government now recognises the importance of policy and planning as a proactive approach to become future ready. This paper presents various ways on how drainage management becomes a vital consideration in development. The paper aims to show that planning for necessities such as road infrastructure and sanitation point towards a single aim that is stormwater management.
The urban context can easily draw us practitioners into more advanced stormwater management methods. Let us learn from the challenges faced and solutions implemented by this Pacific island nation, and support them with their long-term vision for stormwater management.