National WaSH Authority to be set up

The National Executive Council has approved a submission for the establishment of a National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) Authority for Papua New Guinea.

The WaSH Authority aims to oversee the implementation of the WaSH Policy passed by the Government in 2017.

The submission was made by Minister for National Planning and Monitoring, Richard Maru.

In an interview with Loop PNG, Minister Maru said the approval of the submission was great news as the authority can now fully implement a nationwide program for clean water and sanitation services.

He said currently just over 30 percent of the population have access to safe, clean drinking water.

“This is totally unacceptable. Under our Medium Term we want to make over 70 percent of our population have access to drinking water by 2030.

“So without a national body that’s charged with the responsibility to plan to mobilise resources, to come up with the design standards, to license water utilities and private supply systems, no one is taking ownership of making sure we roll out the WaSH program throughout the country,” said Maru.

The Minister further said the Authority will ensure provincial towns without proper water systems, as well as villages in remote parts of the country, receive clean drinking water.

“Under this body they will plan for the rollout of water services and sanitation service to all the villages, to all the district towns, to all the provincial towns,” stated Maru.

“Towns like Tari and Hela. Mendi doesn’t have one, Vanimo doesn’t have one, Kumun for the new JJiwaka Province doesn’t have one so we really need to get this body organised and we really need to work with donors and our Government to start making sure all our provincial towns have safe water and sanitation services, and then into district towns and villages.”

Maru said legislation will be prepared for the establishment of the Authority, which will also regulate water and sanitation services in the country.

“It will be housed as an independent body established by law, and it won’t be depending on Government resources through annual budget appropriation.

“This regulatory body will charge a licence fee to Eda Ranu and PNG Water and any other private owner of a supply system.

“And using a small fee it will be able to generate its own income and therefore meet its operating overheads,” said the minister.

Cedric Patjole