Lae’s water woes continue, Wenge serves ultimatum

National, Normal

RESIDENTS of Lae city were severely affected with continuous water stoppage throughout last week and the weekend.
In most suburbs, the water supply was only running at night.
Morobe Governor Luther Wenge gave PNG Waterboard two-weeks to restore water or face a public forum.
“They have no excuse because they make millions of kina in Lae,” he told reporters last Friday as all schools were forced to close and students sent home before lunch.
The Angau Memorial Hospital emergency unit was closed and patients were advised to leave.
The PNG Waterboard (PNGWB) had made arrangements with the PNG Fire Service to cart water to the hospital during the day.
The water problems also affected Government offices and some companies and the Lae main market, forcing them to close at noon.
Lae Chamber of Commerce president Alan McLay was informed by PNGWB and advised companies who had a difficult time deciding as water was a vital part of business operations, especially those dealing with food.
Most banks were closed at noon last Friday, which affected customers.
Mr McLay said bakeries and other food handlers were closed while health inspectors ordered fast food outlets and tucker shops to close.
The chamber had advised food outlets and restaurants to remain open “only if they were able to maintain hygiene of their businesses”.
The PNGWB released a statement advising that the water stoppage was because of the continuous power outage.
It said two of their five operational water pumps at Taraka had stopped working.
The cable of the first one was burnt last Wednesday night and the motor of the second was burnt out last Thursday night.
Only three pumps were working but were insufficient to supply constant water to the city because of power fluctuations and non-stop operations of generators.
PNGWB branch manager Steward Tito said all three bores needed to be working at full capacity to fill the PNGWB water tanks at its Taraka treatment plant prior to supply the city.