Residents need to heed warnings

Editorial, Normal

The National, Friday January 29th, 2016

 IT is shocking that more than 90 million litres of precious water – more than half the quantity supplied to the city of Port Moresby – is unaccounted for.  

In other words, that water which has cost money to treat and reticulate has ended up earning nil return for the state-owned utility company, Eda Ranu.

Meanwhile, Eda Ranu goes on supplying the city and makes an income from only half the water it supplies.

Eda Ranu provides the capital city with 170 million litres of water per day but 95 million litres or 56 per cent of that is going to waste. 

And there is as yet no quick and easy means to stop the water running down the drain. 

The source of the wastage, according to Eda Ranu officials, is illegal connections or deliberate tampering and breaking of water pipes.

It is understood that much of the illegal connections and stealing is happening in settlement areas, major suburbs and other residential premises.

Such wastage could be tolerated or excused if the source of supply is supposedly unending – when the level of water at the Sirinumu dam is constantly at its peak level of 340 million cubic meters.  

However, with the El Nino induced  dry season in the National Capital District and surrounding areas of Central like the Sogeri Plateau, the water level is steadily dropping and posing a critical situation for the city as each dry day passes.

Realising that the water supply to the city cannot be sustained given the ongoing level of wastage at the same time, Eda Ranu has urged the public to take the necessary, simple and commonsense water saving measures. 

Apart from wastage arising from illegal connections and broken pipes, even rate payers are at times negligent and contribute overall to water going to waste. 

A dripping tap in a residence or office may seem negligible but overnight this can be a bucketful so all leaking taps ought to be fixed.  

Eda Ranu also urges home owners to use buckets and not hoses to wash and clean around their homes. 

Port Moresby’s water and electricity are from the same source and both are affected by any drastic drop in the level of water such as in the current situation.

PNG Power Ltd this week called on consumers to seriously conserve electricity and water because of the decreasing water level at the Sirinumu Dam.

As of Monday, the volume of water at the dam was 102 million cubic metres, which is 30 per cent of the spill level. 

The dam is designed to hold 340 million cubic metres of water.

Acting PPL chief executive officer confirmed that due to the critical shortage of water, PPL had cut down on the use of water at its Rouna hydro power stations was now generating only 10 megawatts from all four hydro power stations. 

Rouna’s total generating capacity is 54 megawatts.

The current dry spell, which is expected to last into the New Year, is being spurred by the El Nino climatic conditions which could have disastrous consequences as the 1997 disaster.

The city water supplier’s efforts to keep a reasonable supply of water at constant levels under the current dry spell and the fast declining water level at the Sirinumu dam would be made a lot easier if consumers cooperated and changed their water use habits significantly this time.  

The situation demands such cooperation and change of consumption habits and the city’s population and villagers in the periphery who are connected must take it upon themselves to conserve water and discourage others from wasting it as well.

People do not have any control over the El Nino weather pattern, yet all is within their power to conserve and use wisely the remaining water sitting in the Sirinumu Dam to ensure that they are supplied well into the prolonged dry period.

City residents have been warned and urged to help conserve water by both Eda Ranu , PNG Power and other authorities, including the National Disaster Office. 

If people abide by those water saving instructions, they can leave the rest to the powers of nature or pray for rain.

It is most crucial that people abide by these warnings and conserve water.