Quench­ing PNG’s Thirst

Wa­ter PNG and Eda Ranu are sus­tain­ably safe­guard­ing Pa­pua New Guinea’s wa­ter sup­plies, driven by am­bi­tion and suc­ceed­ing through prac­ti­cal­ity

Asia Outlook - - M&h Manufacturing - Writer: Jonathan Dy­ble | Project Man­ager: Matthew Cole-Wilkin

EL NIÑO AND LA NIÑA. These are two terms, col­lec­tively cat­e­gorised as ENSO (El Niño-South­ern Os­cil­la­tion), that many of us may not be aware of, but have sub­stan­tial im­pli­ca­tions on global weather cy­cles.

In the lan­guage of sci­ence, these re­fer to cycli­cal changes in sur­face tem­per­a­tures of oceans that in turn lead to dras­tic changes in cli­mates, of­ten con­tribut­ing to nat­u­ral dis­as­ters.

One sim­i­larly scary ef­fect of ENSO is pro­longed droughts, dry spells that of­ten lead to wa­ter short­ages through­out the Asia Pa­cific on is­land na­tions where re­sources are al­ready scarce. Dur­ing the 2015 El Niño, for ex­am­ple, the Philip­pines de­clared emer­gency across 85 per­cent of its prov­inces, while In­done­sia ex­pe­ri­enced its worst drought in 18 years.

How­ever, with the right struc­ture and prepa­ra­tions in place, such se­vere cli­mates can be en­dured and han­dled ef­fec­tively – plan­ning that has been im­ple­mented in Pa­pua New Guinea (PNG) since De­cem­ber 1986 fol­low­ing the launch of the Na­tional Wa­ter Sup­ply and Sew­er­age Act.

A key func­tion of this leg­is­la­tion was the es­tab­lish­ment of a wa­ter board, tasked with co­or­di­nat­ing the plan­ning, de­sign, con­struc­tion and man­age­ment of na­tional wa­ter sup­ply and sew­er­age ser­vices through­out the coun­try.

In­tro­duced to this end was Wa­ter PNG, later fol­lowed by the in­cep­tion of Eda Ranu to over­see such ser­vices in the na­tional cap­i­tal dis­trict.

“Wa­ter PNG Limited is re­spon­si­ble for man­ag­ing wa­ter sup­ply and san­i­ta­tion in the urban ar­eas of PNG,” the Or­gan­i­sa­tion states on its web­site. “Prior to its es­tab­lish­ment the wa­ter sec­tor was se­ri­ously frag­mented re­sult­ing in poor ser­vice de­liv­ery and no cost re­cov­ery.”

How­ever, in the decades since their found­ing, both Wa­ter PNG and Eda Ranu have played a cru­cial role in safe­guard­ing the coun­try’s wa­ter in­fra­struc­ture.

300,000 peo­ple, 100 mil­lion litres

Much of the progress that PNG has ex­pe­ri­enced has been de­rived from Wa­ter PNG’s com­mit­ment to its over­rid­ing goal of be­com­ing the na­tion’s lead­ing provider of safe wa­ter sup­ply and san­i­ta­tion ser­vices.

In achiev­ing these am­bi­tions, Wa­ter PNG’s in­fra­struc­ture has grown rapidly in pre­vi­ous decades, now op­er­at­ing more than 20 kilo­me­tres of dis­tri­bu­tion pipe­lines, 19 treat­ment plants and 20 dis­tri­bu­tion reser­voirs and stand­pipes.

“Wa­ter that you drink goes through a num­ber of stages be­fore it reaches your tap,” Wa­ter PNG ex­plains on its web­site. “From the wa­ter sources, whether it be a river or from un­der the ground (bore wa­ter source), it makes its way to raw wa­ter stor­age tanks or cham­bers. It then gets treated at the wa­ter treat­ment plants and is then trans­ported to ser­vice reser­voirs be­fore get­ting dis­trib­uted through pump­ing sta­tions and wa­ter mains.

“There are more than 20 ser­vice reser­voirs in the Wa­ter PNG wa­ter sup­ply sys­tem. Wa­ter from the treat­ment plants is de­liv­ered by grav­ity fed bulk sup­ply mains to these ser­vice reser­voirs, be­fore it is dis­trib­uted through a net­work of retic­u­lated pipes.”

Col­lec­tively, this net­work serves ap­prox­i­mately 300,000 peo­ple across the is­land, pro­vid­ing over 100 mil­lion litres of clean wa­ter each day.

Fur­ther, hav­ing now es­tab­lished a pro­fi­cient sup­ply frame­work that serves sub­stan­tial pro­por­tions of the pop­u­la­tion, both Wa­ter PNG and Eda Ranu have turned their at­ten­tions to en­sur­ing that the wa­ter pro­vided is of the high­est qual­ity.

Work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Stan­dard and In­dus­trial Tech­nol­ogy, sources are eval­u­ated thor­oughly through phys­i­cal, chem­i­cal and mi­cro­bi­o­log­i­cal anal­y­sis, not only com­ply­ing with the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Drink­ing Wa­ter Guide­lines but ex­ceed­ing them.

Progress in prac­tice

Many of these suc­cesses can be found in Wa­ter PNG’s projects that are spread across the is­land na­tion, one such ex­am­ple be­ing the Kerema Wa­ter Sup­ply Project.

Set to be ex­panded in three stages, the project is cur­rently op­er­at­ing with an el­e­vated 30 kilo­litre tank, chlo­ri­na­tion fa­cil­i­ties and a dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem that sup­plies the sur­round­ing re­gion.

This is just one of a num­ber of sim­i­lar ven­tures that the or­gan­i­sa­tion will con­tinue to work on in the com­ing years, with many of these funded through PNG’s Pub­lic In­vest­ment Pro­gramme.

Other projects that come un­der this bracket in­clude the Ai­tape Wa­ter Sup­ply Project and the Bu­lolo Wa­ter Sup­ply Project, each set to cover their re­spec­tive dis­tricts as part of Wa­ter PNG’s Vi­sion 2050, and the Ial­ibu Wa­ter Sup­ply Project, where a ground­wa­ter source has been iden­ti­fied and will be lever­aged to sup­ply the town and sur­round­ing ar­eas.

Read­ily adding new wa­ter projects to the Pub­lic In­vest­ment Pro­gramme each year, Wa­ter PNG is ac­tively recog­nised for its com­mit­ment to im­prov­ing the liveli­hood and se­cu­rity of the coun­try’s in­hab­i­tants, named the ‘Best Per­form­ing Large Util­ity’ and ‘Most im­proved Wa­ter Util­ity’ dur­ing the 2014 Pa­cific Wa­ter & Waste Con­fer­ence.

Show­cas­ing sus­tain­abil­ity

Lead­ing on from this recog­ni­tion, Pa­pua New Guinea played host to the eighth an­nual edi­tion of the con­fer­ence in Septem­ber 2015.

The event was held in Port Moresby and was hosted by a part­ner­ship be­tween the Pa­cific Wa­ter & Waste As­so­ci­a­tion, Eda Ranu and Wa­ter PNG it­self, bring­ing to­gether rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 18 coun­tries.

Dur­ing this, the trio worked to­gether to pro­mote both re­gional and global ex­cel­lence in wa­ter and waste man­age­ment, bring­ing a range of top­i­cal is­sues to light, from de­vel­op­ment to tech­no­log­i­cally-driven in­dus­try in­no­va­tion to cli­mate change and sus­tain­abil­ity.

These ef­forts in par­tic­u­lar mir­ror Wa­ter PNG’s cor­po­rate val­ues, based around in­tegrity, team­work, cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion and in­no­va­tion.

“We value team­work and en­cour­age col­lab­o­ra­tive cul­ture, openly shar­ing in­for­ma­tion, knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ences that fos­ter joint com­mit­ments to com­mon goals,” it re­veals on its web­site.

“We recog­nise that change is con­stant and are there­fore com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment and in­no­va­tion, al­ways en­sur­ing that we in­spire our peo­ple and our clients with cre­ative solutions. We strive to be a cat­a­lyst for change to ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in the so­cio-eco­nomic growth of the na­tion.”

Vi­sion 2050

Mov­ing into 2019, Wa­ter PNG and Eda Ranu will both hope that a con­tin­ual com­mit­ment to their pro­gres­sive philoso­phies will be cru­cial in main­tain­ing con­tin­u­ous suc­cesses mov­ing for­ward.

While Wa­ter PNG in par­tic­u­lar had hoped to have ex­panded its wa­ter sup­ply and san­i­ta­tion ser­vices to two ad­di­tional pro­vin­cial towns and 16 dis­trict towns by the year’s end, in the long term, its Vi­sion 2050 is sim­i­larly ambitious.

Cur­rently, both Eda Ranu and Wa­ter PNG op­er­ate in towns where their op­er­a­tions are com­mer­cially vi­able. How­ever, mov­ing for­ward, Wa­ter PNG hopes that both or­gan­i­sa­tions can cater to a much broader range of ar­eas across the coun­try, main­tain­ing this ex­ist­ing mo­men­tum.

“We will achieve 100 per­cent cov­er­age of pro­vin­cial towns and 85 per­cent of all dis­trict towns pro­gress­ing to the ul­ti­mate achieve­ment of the PNG Vi­sion 2050,” its long-term mis­sion reads.

Wa­ter PNG’s net­work serves ap­prox­i­mately 300,000 peo­ple across the is­land, pro­vid­ing over 100 mil­lion litres of clean wa­ter each day

“There are more than 20 ser­vice reser­voirs in the Wa­ter PNG wa­ter sup­ply sys­tem”

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