Sunday, January 23, 2011

Water tank installed but no water to fill it up

Hayward Sagembo, president of Tembari Children Care (TCC) Inc, posing in front of the newly-installed water tank facility at The Center’s premises.

A Friend of Tembari Children

FINALLY, we are able to install a water tank for use at The Center.

And yet, our problem with water supply has not been solved.

Water service at ATS Oro settlement where the Tembari Children Care (TCC) is located is practically off, in the sense that you can’t expect it during times when it is badly needed.

In short, Eda Ranu’s water service at the village is practically non-existent.

And even if water comes to the settlement, there’s no assurance that it could reach our elevated water tank simply because water pressure is just enough to keep water flowing from low-lying taps -- in weak stream.

Early last year, when we were planning to install The Center’s water facility – that is a bulk water tank (1,000 gallons) plus an installation of water piping from the village mainline --water were still flowing, so to speak.

But toward the end of last year, Eda Ranu suddenly cut off service to ATS Oro Settlement at 7-Mile, on the other side of the Jackson international airport, after it was unable to collect close to K200,000 in unpaid bills from the settlement’s association.

The Oro Community Development Association which runs the water service at the village charges K1 each a day from water users and collects from them every fortnight. There are close to 1,000 households at the settlement.

But one mystery is that OCDA, over the years, has failed to pay the bills until the amount accumulated to close to K200,000.

A village source has told me that the OCDA officers were banking on a Member of Parliament to come to its rescue with regards to unpaid water bills.

That’s why they allegedly never bothered to pay the bills although it was collecting from water users every fortnight.

The big question: Who benefited from the money collected from water users over these years?

Anyway, Eda Ranu decided to resume its service after the association promised to pay in staggered amount until the entire debt is covered.

But to cut its losses from operations at ATS Oro Settlement, Eda Ranu has kept water pressure at ridiculously weak level that water almost doesn’t reach the taps.

This means if the settlement would consume less volume of water, Eda Ranu would be able to reduce its monthly losses from bills unpaid by the Oro Community Development Association.

THE MATERIALS used to install The Center’s water tank were donated by RH Foundation, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), PNG Concrete Aggregates and New Zealand-based building engineer Joe Buenaventura.

As a contingency measure, we intend to buy bulk water from Eda Ranu to fill up our tank.

As to how much it would cost us a fortnight is another question.

So, we are keeping our fingers crossed on this.

Right now, The Center provides lunch snacks and early dinner to 110 beneficiary children from Monday to Saturday and clean water is crucial to its daily feeding program.

We have a volunteer who is especially assigned to wait for water to flow from the settlement’s public taps. However, she could only manage to collect just enough for cooking use during the day.

That’s why most of the time the children don’t drink water anymore after meals.

It’s good that we are getting a weekly donation of purified water from two water bottling companies in Port Moresby.

This way, the children are able to drink water after meals on Saturdays.

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