11 Dec 2003

Power outages cause water problems in PNG's East sepik province

11:27 am on 11 December 2003

Poor maintenance of equipment in the capital of East Sepik province in Papua New Guinea is being blamed for ongoing power and water supply problems.

There have been weeks of intermittent power blackouts in the capital, Wewak, because of problems with the town's aging power generators.

Ukatha Otiwani, of the PNG Waterboard, says it's had to rely on standby generation equipment to provide water, which has supplied all but the Kreer Heights residential area of Wewak.

He says Wewak Hospital is not affected by the water-supply problems, the cause of which is reported to be poor maintenance of power generating equipment.

Mr Otiwani says water reaches Kreer Heights when the power is on, but residents are far from happy with the situation.

"Well obviously when you don't have water people will complain, but our explanation has been that since we have had more than usual power cuts we cannot supply water there [Kreer Heights]."

PNG Power says Wewak is experiencing four-hourly rolling power cuts while the power company attempts to repair a broken generator.