Water PNG Chairman’s Message on World Water Day 2024

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Water is essentially the Life-blood of every nation’s social and economic prosperity. In Papua New Guinea water does not only sustain life but also enhances socio-economic activities from our people in rural areas using water for poultry and piggery to industries in urban centers using water for commercial purposes.

As the Chairman of Water PNG Limited, sometimes referred to as Chairman for Life, appointed by the Marape-Rosso coalition government, I am entrusted to serve the people of Papua New Guinea with my colleague Board of Directors in the water and sanitation sector. We are mandated to provide clear development path in line with the government’s Vision 2050 for Water PNG Management and staff to implement. We have maintained our Goal as the bench mark water and waste-water Company in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific that uses international best practices in our business to meet customers’ expectations, improve our shareholders’ equity, and preserve the environment.

While global demand for fresh water is expected to exceed 40 per cent by 2030 according to United Nations Water, this year’s World Water Day theme “Water for Peace” reminds us that this life giving element is not all too well globally. Industrialized nations are continuing to overuse fresh water resources while persistently increasing greenhouse gas pollution through their activities. This leads to warming up the Earth’s climate to dangerous levels affecting the natural water cycle. As a result, the world is confronted with increasing water related disasters such as floods, landslides, infrastructure damages, fresh water shortages, and droughts impacting food production and supply chains. Another important global agenda set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 through its Sustainable Development Goal #6 was to ensure Clean Water and Sanitation systems are available for all by 2030. This is a far cry from reality as the world continue to face more water related problems. More than 1 billion people around the globe still have no access to safe drinking water, and over 2.5 billion do not have adequate sanitation services. Over 2 million people die each year because of unsafe water with most of them being children. So in perspective, the world is dangerously off-track in achieving its goal on ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by the decade’s end.

However, at Water PNG we are staying on course in meeting both our national governments Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) Policy and the Global Agenda on Sustainable Development Goal #6 by 2030. Based on our growth trend post-merger of Water PNG and Eda Ranu, we anticipate to increase establishments of water supply and sanitation systems from 15 towns and 9 districts to 30 towns and districts.

This would equate to having 70% of our rural and 95% of our urban populace accessing safe and sustainable water supply. While in sanitation, 70% of our rural and 85% of our urban populace will benefit from improved, safe and sustainable service. This achievement will ultimately propel Water PNG and the country to the top of being one of the few developing nations to have met or come close to meeting Sustainable Development Goal #6 set by United Nations General Assembly in 2015.

Whilst we are committed to meeting WaSH and Sustainable Development Goals, we also remain steadfast in implementing the State Owned Enterprise (SOE) Reforms set by the Government. Our team understands the importance of growth in the SOE sector which will contribute to meeting the governments overall development aspirations on taking a small step into industrialization through transformation and innovation. Therefore, we are fully committed to supporting our single shareholder the government, though Kumul Consolidated Holdings Limited (KCHL) in implementing these reforms by strengthening legislative and policy framework, enhancing governance and transparency, and improving financial sustainability.

As a merged entity we are content with our achievements thus far since 2020. But our future progress in staying on course and meeting our 2030 goals are entirely dependent on increasing our revenue generating capacity. Our plan to increase revenue is simply to meet the overwhelming demand gap that exist as a result of increasing population and exponential business growth in our major centres such as Port Moresby Lae, Madang, Kokopo, Wewak and Mt Hagen. These major centres that contribute 80% of our total revenue, which are then used to cross subsidize non-profitable centres as part of our Community Service Obligation (CSO), are also dealing with high Non-Revenue Water (NRW) daily. Port Moresby Operations is faring at 40-45 per cent NRW and the solution remains a challenge for all stakeholders. One of the management’s current strategy to reduce NRW in Port Moresby is the roll out of Metre Farming Concept in villages and settlements within NCD. The pilot project in 2024 commenced at Badihagwa community followed by Konedobu community in Port Moresby North-West and South electorates. Residents in NCD are reminded that this concept will be rolled out to all villages and settlements within the capital city to enable everyone to have water connected individually to their homes with registered metres for billing.

On a much bigger scale to increase our revenue, we are planning on upgrading our existing infrastructure network in these major centres so that water production and sewerage systems capacities are increased to meet the growing demand. The capital investment in these infrastructure development is of mixed bag from WPNG’s internal funding, World Bank (WB), European Union (EU), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT), Public Private Partnership and Public Investment Program (PIP). 

In PNG we are naturally blessed with many rivers, streams, lakes and ground water unlike many nations of the world where clean water is scarce as a result of irresponsible human behavior. Scarcity of safe drinking water can lead to conflicts between communities and nations. Therefore, cooperation on water issues by everyone can stabilize the worlds water balance and bring peace. As we celebrate World Water Day and reflect on the theme “Water for Peace”, we must also know that where there is Peace there is Prosperity.

As the Chairman of Water PNG on this important occasion, I would like to remind you to not only be conscious in conserving water in your homes and communities, but also be mindful on how your actions such as cutting down trees can contribute to climate change and unbalance global water cycle. One effortless action you can take that can greatly reduce climate change and stabilize our global water cycle is plant a tree every year. Consider if 10 Million plus citizens of this country, let alone the world, can plant a single tree every year. This can positively impact climate change and unbalanced water cycle making this world a better place than it is.

Also on this World Water Day, it is my duty to remind you that in order for us to help you and help the rest of Papua New Guinea to enjoy clean and safe drinking water and sanitation services by 2030, help us by paying your water and sewerage bills on time. We urge you to not connect illegally to our water and sewerage network and make it your business to report anyone carrying out illegal activities on our water and sewerage mains.

All nations including PNG must put water cooperation at the heart of every plan from climate change and mass migrations to civil wars and food security. The world can foster harmony between communities and countries by uniting and advocating on fair and sustainable use of water from United Nations Conventions to far-flung remote communities in the South Pacific battling sea level rise.

Finally, in this shared global challenge, let us all unite and play our parts in enabling a well-functioning and equitably managed water cycle to promote prosperity and build resilience for a better tomorrow for our future generations.

Happy Celebrations on this year’s World Water Day.


Amb. Aiwa Olmi, OL

Chairman Water PNG Limited