SPC Geoscience Division

Home News & Media Releases Latest Study finds no contaminants in Niue’s groundwater

Study finds no contaminants in Niue’s groundwater

E-mail Print PDF

A recent analysis of Niue’s groundwater that tested for selected chemical and organic pollutants has found that the country’s water supply is very good and well within global standards.  

The study focused on all 16 boreholes used to pump Niue’s drinking water, three monitoring boreholes located on the island’s central, northern and southern areas and a borehole found on Vaiea farm.

Due to local concerns of pollution from pesticides like paraquat, groundwater was tested for traces of all pesticides used on the island. The study found that there was no contamination from pesticides with levels recorded well within the United States Drinking Water Standard.

Water was also tested for selected chemicals (calcium, magnesium, sodium, chloride, sulphate, nitrate as NO3, iron, manganese, lead and copper).

The study found that there was no contamination from nitrates, usually caused by fertiliser runoff or pollution from animal and human waste; copper, which can cause gastrointestinal problems at high concentrations; lead, which has serious effects on human health; and manganese, which effects pipes and other water distribution systems.

Other chemicals tested for are naturally occurring in Niue’s limestone geography and posed no health threat. It was found though, that the high mineral content of Niue’s groundwater meant that the hardness of the water ranged from hard to very hard.

The groundwater analysis in Niue was successfully conducted in partnership between the Niue Department of Health, the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Recommendations included the continuation of Niue’s drinking water safety planning framework and that it be implemented within the larger framework of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) to ensure everyone from the community to cabinet understand their responsibility and contribute to protecting Niue’s water resource.

Full Report



Pacific Island countries and territories are challenged by the necessity to update their maps to reflect the current day realities. “Countries are utilising several mapping systems, or projections, in parallel,” explained Dr Wolf Forstreuter, SOPAC’s Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist. SOPAC is the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

“For example, road networks river systems, coastlines, contour lines and village locations are available on different maps. Often each has different accuracy and a different projection. They do not overlay or fit one on top of the other,” continued Dr Forstreuter.

Dr Forstreuter said that discrepancies are the result of several factors: the mapping carried out by the first surveyors at the end of the 19th century; tectonic shift, which contributes to islands shifting position; legal challenges associated with using old maps, and the need for Lands Departments to move to the use of remote sensing data and new software.