Water, Sewer Problems In Port Moresby Reach ‘Critical Stage’

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Utility COO: New $300 million water treatment plant needed ‘yesterday’

By Malum Nalu

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 23, 2015) – Eda Ranu [NCD Water & Sewerage Pty Ltd ] chief operating officer Dr Fifaia Matainaho says the water and sewerage problem in Port Moresby has now reached a critical stage.

He confirmed what was highlighted by Eda Ranu chief executive officer Henry Mokono in an interview with The National on Tuesday.

He said the water treatment plant at Mt Eriama, outside Port Moresby, could produce up to 184 million litres of water per day (mld), with usage now peaking at 180 mld.

"We can’t say it’s urgent (because) we’ve already passed that stage. The time is up now. But that doesn’t mean leaving it until too late," Matainaho, an engineer, said.

"When you talk about APEC and all these international meetings and events like the Pacific Games, we’ve been sensitive about that and are working to make sure that our system copes.

"In fact, for the Pacific Games our system is able to handle that. But for APEC, which is a major international event, it’s crucial that when the world leaders are here, they enjoy the services that are provided by utility providers like Eda Ranu."

He said a new water treatment plant would cost US$300 million (K782m), and at least K50m to "desludge" the sewerage ponds.

[PIR editor’s note: The National reported that ‘The Government has been urged to treat water and sewerage infrastructure in the country in the same manner it addresses road infrastructure. ... Eda Ranu chief operating officer Dr Fifaia Matainaho said that was a common practice all over the world. ... "We really want the Government to think of it (water and sewerage) as an infrastructure issue," he told The National yesterday.’ It also reported that ‘The rapidly growing population in Port Moresby and the number of new buildings are putting immense pressure on the water and sewerage system, an official says.’]

"In the next two to three years, we should have the water treatment plant built. It takes a while to design, let alone even to construct," he said.

"We are at the juncture where we need some financial assistance, real commitment from the Government, to help us on this one."

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