Bipi island

​Travel costly for teachers on island

For teachers on Bipi Island in Manus, they wait till the fourth fortnight to make that trip to Lorengau, simply because one fortnight pay cannot meet the travel cost.

Ms Mary Peter is a Grade Four teacher at the primary school on the island. To get to Lorengau, she travels on 40 horse powered motor on banana boats, a trip that takes up to 5 hours one way.  

“It’s very expensive, about K600 we must save to travel using 20 gallon zoom one way. We usually wait three fortnights and on the fourth fortnight, we go to town.

​Locals challenged to maintain project

Speaking during the closing of the saltwater desalination pilot project on Tuesday at Bipi Island, Minister Maru said the people of Manus were very privileged to benefit from such projects.

This project converts beach well water into fresh drinking water, using the technology of reverse osmosis and solar power.

He said many other atoll provinces, who also experience water shortage during the dry seasons, would want to have this but Manus is privileged.

"It’s a big investment. And delivering it here is more expensive than other places," Minister Maru said.

​Remote island lacks students’ materials

The island, located off the western end of mainland Manus, is isolated and logistics remain a challenge due to the high cost of fuel.

It costs K23 per gallon of zoom in Lorengau, and to get to Bipi, around 10-15 gallon is needed to travel one way.

Fuel on the island costs between K37-K40 per gallon, which makes travelling to Lorengau a very expensive exercise for the islanders.

But for students there, this is home.

Finally, fresh water for islanders!

For a mother in the village, water is vital for survival but accessing clean, drinking water during the dry seasons could mean walking, driving, paddling or traveling by boat over a certain distance to fetch that precious necessity.

For women in island atolls, water becomes a big need when tanks and containers dry up.

Mother-of-two, Regina George, of Bipi Island in Manus, is one of those privileged ones who is now having and will have access to clean drinking water during the dry season.

Bipi island water plant produces 4,000L per day

This Pacific Environment Community Fund project is the first of its kind in the country that aims to ensure islanders have access to a sustainable and reliable water supply system.

Six solar powered desalination plants have been successfully installed and commissioned on Bipi which produces a total water capacity of 720L per hour.

“That’s equivalent of 4,320 litres per day of fresh desalinated drinking water,” says Project manager Tom Anayabere.

Locals' training on water project starts

They will go through training on how to operate and maintain the 6 solar-powered desalination plants on Bipi before the project is formally commissioned and handed over to them.

This will also happen in the other four islands in Manus who are recipients of this water project.

National desalination project manager, Tom Anayabere, said testing, certification and commissioning will take place this Friday on Bipi Island.

“All desalination works on Bipi Island will be completed by this Sunday. Next week we will start with Mbuke Island,” Anayabere said.

First drill test in Bipi a success

Officers from Sojitz Corporation (contractors), the engineers of the seawater source well sites, staff from Department of National Planning & Monitoring and the national project manager of the PEC (Pacific Environment Community) fund desalination project, Tom Anayabere were welcomed into Bipi on Thursday.

They were greeted by dancers on the beachfront before a traditional washing of their faces was done to ward off evil spirits.

 The first drill test took place that same afternoon at one of the identified beach well site before it was completed with PVC conduit.