20 Aug 2013

No rain threatens Port Moresby's water supply

8:04 pm on 20 August 2013

Port Moresby residents are being urged to conserve water as the city's main water source, the Sirinumu Dam, is critically low with no sign of rain to refill it.

Radio New Zealand International's Papua New Guinea correspondent, Todagia Keloa, has been to the dam with executives of Eda Ranu, the city's water supplier.

He outlined the situation to Mary Baines.

TODAGIA KELOA: The water there is slowly receding to a very critical level where Port Moresby's water supplier Eda Ranu has appealed to Port Moresby residents to use their water wisely because the water up in Sogeri or where the dam is is going down at a very fast rate. Now the water is used to generate hydro power for the city and once the hydro power has been generated the water is then given to Eda Ranu for Port Moresby residents to use.

MARY BAINES: So is this the city's main water supply?

TK: Yes, I'd say it forms 80% of the water that is used by the city, the other 20% comes from the rivers but because it's dry season there is not enough water to supply the entire city.

MB: What are the authorities specifically asking people to do?

TK: The water company here in Port Moresby it has already started an awareness campaign by trying to inform the residents in Port Moresby to be water conscious and they've also released an advertisement for water rationing where there'll be some parts of the city without water for some time and then other parts will have water and then it's like they're rationing it or load-sharing on areas in the city.

MB: So with no rain how long have the authorities said the water will last?

TK: I did pose that question to the CEO of Eda Ranu yesterday, I said what if there is no rain and there is no water at all in the dam. What he stated was it's going to be an executive decision which is basically the national government. If there is no rain they need to look further out somewhere where probably a new dam or new water system for the city has to be considered. With the increasing number of population in Port Moresby if there is no water at the dam up in Sirinumu it will definitely be a very very serious problem for the city.

MB: So this quite a concerning situation then?

TK: Yes, because it's not only Eda Ranu who are concerned that the water level is low because it's also responsible for power supply in Port Moresby because it produces hydro power to the city and PNG Power is also concerned - they are basically controlling the amount of water that is coming out from the dam until such a time where maybe there is a big rain in the area where the dam can be refueled.