By BARNEY ORERE PONDROS
LAE MP Bart Philemon wants Public Enterprise Minister Arthur Somare to “personally” get to the bottom of the protracted water woes plaguing Papua New Guinea’s industrial hub.
“Lae’s water supply has been off since last week, and the problem goes back to last year, Mr Somare needs to settle this personally, it needs to stop,” Mr Philemon said.
He said he demanded action because everything relies on water and normal life cannot take place without it.
Mr Philemon said most businesses, Government agencies, including schools that resumed this week had been impacted by the problem.
“This is not a wake-up call for us, it has been an ongoing issue.
“We have to get to the bottom of it.
“We have crumbling infrastructure all over the country: highways, bridges and classrooms and in a major town facing water problem we really need to take a hard look at this,” he stressed.
And with the recent Cholera outbreak, Mr Philemon said he was concerned that the lack of water to maintain proper personal hygiene could spark another outbreak.
The deputy leader of the opposition wants the problem fixed as Lae is PNG’s industrial hub and it cannot afford to be bogged down with the problem any longer.
Several businesses contacted by The National, said while they were coping, they agreed that the water woes were impacting on business as employees over the week have been turning up late for work or leaving early because of the problem.
Mr Philemon said some schools had already sent students, who had just started the school year, back home until the problem was sorted out.
Mr Philemon also raised concern that communication and power were other ongoing issues that Mr Somare, in his capacity as minister responsible for State entities, must seriously consider fixing as it was “getting too costly”.
Mr Somare agreed that the problems bombarding Lae needed to be sorted out quickly.
He has urged both PNG Waterboard and PNG Power through IPBC to get the ball rolling and sort the problems “as Lae is PNG’s most important city after Port Moresby”.
The WaterBoard placed a newspaper advertisement yesterday, advising its Lae consumers about serious bore pump problems which meant it was unable to produce enough water to serve the entire city.
It said it would continue to ration water as only two of its bore pumps were running.
Acting managing director, Amo Mark, said WaterBoard expected to restore water supply as soon as the spare motors arrive in Lae.