Water Tank Subsidy Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is MFEM's role in this whole process? I thought water tank suppliers Cook Islands Building Supplies (CIBS) and CITC Hardware approves applications with Infrastructure Cook Islands 

A1: ROLE OF THIS AGENCY - Development Coordination Division, MFEM

MFEM project management oversight is in collaboration with its private sector partners as accredited water tank suppliers/installers namely Cook Islands Building Supplies and CITC Hardware and with potential new water tank owners in the consumers sector.

Infrastructure Cook Islands (ICI) provided support to this project in the mapping of priority zone areas aligned to Water Division ring water mains data. In the second year of this programme, ICI provided support in the conduct one of the two required field inspections to assist MFEM with determining application outcomes.

Ministry of Internal Affairs is tasked with assisting in the assessment of hardship subsidies to inform MFEM of application outcomes in this category.

This includes determining approval of subsidy application by conducting a site visit of the property. For approved applications, MFEM will advise the applicant’s nominated supplier of approved subsidies. Once installation is completed by the accredited supplier, MFEM conducts another inspection visit to: confirm water tank installation according to standards; and is for the approved dwelling (residence) in order to make direct subsidy payment to the supplier.

Only applications approved by MFEM will be passed on to the nominated supplier for further processing. MFEM role is to also advise persons of unsuccessful applications.


Only two accredited water tank suppliers namely Cook Islands Building Suppplies in Nikao and CITC Hardware in Avatiu have been approved to supply plastic 6,000 litre water tanks for this project and to also install water tanks according to this project's standard requirements.

It is the job of the successful applicant/potential water tank owner and the their nominated supplier to make sure that the potential water tank owner pays for required installation cost of up to $500 to the supplier before the supplier proceeds to installing the tank on the approved property. The supplier must provide clarity to the new owner in the breakdown of the standard installation costs. Any additional costs must be communicated and agreed to by the new owner before installation of water tank. The new owner should also be made aware of water tank warranty information.

Once the water tank is installed the supplier must advise MFEM of this update in order for MFEM to conduct an installation inspection visit.

Each installation must be completed within two weeks after notice of approval from MFEM to the supplier and the potential new water tank owner.

Q2: How do I apply for help with subsidised water tank purchase?

A2: Please note we are no longer receiving new applications as of November 2015. Project application up until end of November 2015 have exceeded initial expectations.  All project funds available to date have been fully committed to complete processing of over 800 applications received.

Q3: I thought I don't have to pay for anything at all! What's with the $500?


For those who were able to submit applications before the closing date, you must make sure that the application is completed with clear directions for getting to the property. It is important to also provide reliable local contact details. False declarations on applications or failure to provide reliable local contact details will result in your application not being considered.

If successful with application, you are to provide MFEM with the name of nominated accredited supplier.

You are to pay direct to the supplier the required minimal cost of up to $500 for water tank installation costs including water tank pump. Required preparation for water tank base is an additional cost. The new owner is project manager responsible for liaising with nominated supplier to install water tank on the approved property.

Installation must be completed within two weeks after approval date noting that this subsidy programme ends 31 December 2015. As of November 2015, Cabinet has approved the extension of current activities to 30 June 2016 specifically to close off this project and allow more time to process existing applications including the implementation of already approved work with contractors.

You are asked to provide feedback during MFEM installation visit on this project including use of water tank.

You are responsible for ongoing maintenance of your new water tank – see also warranty information for water tank with your nominated supplier.

Q4: Why is it taking so long with the approval process?

A4: This work involves other parties, ICI for inspections in the second year, INTAFF for assessement of hardship subsidy applications. We also need to work around the suppliers own work plans.

Inspections visits must also be conducted to help determine subsidy application outcomes.

For successful applications, inspection visits are required to confirm water tank installation on the approved property before MFEM makes direct payment of subsidy to the relevant supplier.

Once a project is closed after approval for payment, only than will MFEM be able to release new approvals to nominated suppliers.