The people of Bipi Island in the Manus Province will now have access to safe drinking water following the launch of the country’s first desalination water supply.
The desalination water supply converts sea water into fresh water, safe for drinking.
“It’s very easy to use. We just pump the water out of the well, and in 5 minutes the machine filters it to safe drinking water,” project engineer Tom Pajen explained.
The project, funded by the Pacific Environment Community (PEC) was established under the support of the Government of Japan, through the Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS).
Through the funding arrangement, PNG benefited US$4 million from the Government of Japan through the PEC Fund.
Japanese Ambassador, Satosha Nakajima, who launched the project said the Government of Japan stands ready to assist communities that have had their water systems ruined by climate change.
“Visiting Bipi Island, I see the seriousness of climate change in many of our maritime communities. The Government of Japan stands ready to contribute in any way to help islands who are affected by climate change,” Ambassador Nakajima said.
Meanwhile National Planning and Monitoring Minister, Richard Maru has called on the Government and Development Partners to fund a nation-wide survey on water and sanitation needs.
“It is extremely urgent to conduct a community-by-community national survey for each ward/LLG/district to determine the locations of these communities and households. Once households with needs are mapped, the government at national, provincial and district levels can plan, implement, and monitor and track the progress on water and sanitation for these communities,” Minister Maru emphasized.
The desalination water supply is powered by solar and is fitted with two 3000 litre water tanks. It can pump up to 300 litres of water per hour and can run for up to 4 to 6 hours a day.
A total of 3 machines have been installed on Bipi Island and will be maintained by locals who were trained by Japanese engineers of the Sojitz Technology Company.