Licensing and Regulatory

Despite PNG being blessed with abundance of water in most parts of the country, climatic conditions in the recent past have shown dramatic changes in rainfall patterns triggered by El Nino phenomenon and other factors such as global warming. This is increasingly causing water scarcity in parts of the country. Water quality had not been an issue, but due to population growth and development of industries, water sources are increasingly and progressively being exposed to contamination leading to decline in water quality.

The development and distribution of clean and safe water to communities in both villages and towns are also a major issue.To address issues relating to water resources regulation, drinking water quality standards, and regulation of operations, the Government vested various responsibilities with three institutions. These are the Department of Environment and Conservation operating under the Environment Act 2000, the Department of Health under Public Health Act and Water PNG under National Water Supply and Sewerage Act 1986.

The responsibility of regulation of water resources and environment is vested in the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC). The DEC allocates water resources for various uses including mining, agriculture, power generation, industries and water supply. It also regulates discharge of waste-water and other wastes into the environment and water courses. For the use of water bodies, DEC issues Water Use Permit and charges fees.

The National Department of Health ( is vested with the responsibility of setting Drinking Water Quality Standards through adoption of international guidelines and standards. The NDoH adopted and set as PNG Drinking Water Quality Standards the World Health Organisation Drinking Water Quality Guidelines. For protection of the health of its citizens, the Government through NDOH reviews the Drinking Water Quality Standards from time to time.

The role of Water PNG (The Waterboard) as stipulated in the National Water Supply and Sewerage Act 1986 (NWS&SA) is to regulate all water supply and sewerage systems deemed as ‘private systems’ not operated by it.