20 Apr 2012

PNG awaiting decision from Canberra on multi-billion dollar water scheme

1:46 pm on 20 April 2012

Papua New Guinea's Minister of Works and Transport says all that's needed for a multi-billion dollar project to pipe water to Australia to go ahead is a decision from Canberra.

Francis Awesa says the scheme involves a 2,500 kilometre pipeline that would take water from the Mendi, Lai, Nembi, Angula, Yalo and Tua rivers in Southern Highlands to a dam just outside Brisbane.

He says the 50-billion US dollar, gravity-fed project is the cheapest answer to Australia's water shortage.

"I've been told a desalination plant in Brisbane cost them Australian dollars 30 billion. Now desalinated water is 15 dollars per cubic metre water measurement and the water from here is only five dollars."

Francis Awesa says the project would complement another project that involves selling PNG-generated hydro-electricity to Australia.

He says that project, a PNG joint venture with the Australian company AGL, is already in the avdanced planning stages.