Concerns over Daru water conditions

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, December 1, 2010

THE PNG Sustainable Development Program Ltd (PNGSDP) is concerned with the water and sanitation conditions in Daru Island, Western.
In 2006, the PNGSDP approved its support, funded a feasibility study and committed K26 million as well as offering technical expertise to the PNG Waterboard (PNGWB) to rebuild the Daru water supply and sewerage system given the serious health risks being faced on the island due to the inadequacy of these services.
Last year, PNGSDP seriously concerned about the severe health hazards and the ongoing delay to the re-construction increased its commitment towards the rehabilitation of the entire town water and sewerage system to K52 million by offering PNGWB a K26 million grant as well as low-cost loan of K26 million.
It acknowledged that the Daru water supply and sewerage system, which services the town, is owned and operated by the PNGWB, and the PNGSDP continued to regularly approach the PNGWB to partner with it to improve the facility as a matter of urgency.
“With the presence of cholera now in Daru, it is absolutely urgent that we partner to rebuild
the Daru water supply and sewerage system to ensure the health of the people on the island is not further put at risk,” PNGSDP chief executive officer David Sode said in a statement.
“We are again requesting the PNG Waterboard to act urgently to rebuild the Daru water supply and sanitation system, utilising funding and technical assistance offered by PNGSDP, for the future health of the people of Daru,” he said.
However, the World Health Organisation representative in Daru, Geoffrey Clark, told
visiting media representatives two weeks ago that the town’s water supply was not the
source of the cholera which had claimed more than 30 lives since it was first reported on the island on Nov 11.
He also said the disease was under control and the islanders were responding well to the awareness campaigns that had been carried out.
PNGSDP is currently working with key partners including the WHO, Western cholera emergency response team, provincial administration, Health Department and AusAID, providing logistical support as requested for the cholera outbreak response initiative.
Meanwhile, PNGWB managing director Patrick Amini said they were in the business of providing clean and safe water.
“In this connection, it advises that its ongoing water treatment and surveillance operations, ensures safe drinking water to all its customers, including residents of Daru Island.
 “We have taken measures including increasing the chlorine dosage levels, daily surveillance of our piped systems, regular tests and checks on our water supply system to ensure that the water remains safe for human consumption,” he said.