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PORT MORESBY CITY’S WATER SUPPLY ISSUES

A press release issued today by Water PNG Limited, outlines some of the issues and problems affecting the water supply system in the city.

The city’s water supply is provided by a sole Water Treatment Plant (WTP) located on Mt Eriama just outside Port Moresby city. This WTP in turn draws raw water from the Rouna ponds (Rouna 1/3 and Rouna
4) and from a pump station located in Bomana which draws water from the Laloki River. The Rouna raw water intake infrastructure, which accounts for 90% of Water PNG’s raw water intake, is shared with PNG Power, thus posing an ongoing reliability risk.

The Mt Eriama Water Treatment Plant (WTP) is designed to produce 184 million liters of water per day (MLD). The average daily production from January to April was 188 MLD, the WTP is operating over and
above its design capacity. This overuse exposes the WTP to failure of critical components of the WTP, consequently introducing additional mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic stress to the WTP. To meet the
city’s demand, the daily inflows can peak between 200 MLD to 204 MLD.

Now some issues identified are; the water distribution system is demanding around 188 to 204 MLD from the plant. A large quantity (up to 31 MLD) is provided to and consumed by people in settlements free of charge – as community service – for many years. Another 24 MLD is consumed by consumers connected illegally – water thieves. About 38 MLD is lost through leaks and breaks in the system, pipeline tampering, faulty meters, and vandalism. WPNG is also the implementing agency for the Government’s WaSH policy. Rolling this out successfully has been a challenge due to competing priorities for limited resources, but a number of projects are currently running under various funding programs through GoPNG.

The Port Moresby Water Supply System Master Plan (2020-2040) laid down the blueprint for water system upgrades and development for NCD. This plan identified options for additional water sources to meet future demand for the city as well as identifying requirements for upgrading the existing supply system.

Further desktop studies are in progress, which will lead to a full feasibility study within the next three to six months. Similar studies are also in progress for Lae and Mt Hagen cities. These activities are a part of the overall water supply master plan for WPNG.

These are all challenges Water PNG Ltd faces in Port Moresby.

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