Time to conserve as El Nino looms

Editorial, Normal

The National, Monday August 31st, 2015

 IT is a shocking fact 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 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 is, according to Eda Ranu officials, illegal connections or deliberate tampering and breaking of water pipes.

We believe that much of the illegal connection 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 340,000 cubic meters.  

However, with the onset of the dry season in the National Capital District and surrounding areas of Central  like the Sogeri Plateau, the water level is steadily dropping and will soon pose a critical situation for the capital city.

Realising that the water supply to the city cannot be sustained given the ongoing level of wastage at the same time, Eda Ranu is calling for 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. 

Better still, those who have an alternative source of water such as a bore hole should use it for home cleaning or to wash their cars and save the city supply for needs like cooking and drinking.

Vehicles can go without a wash down for days unlike humans and so people should use water sparingly on their vehicles.

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.

Power generation would most likely be affected if the level of water goes down so low as to cause that.

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 and the relevant government 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.