SAFE drinking water is being provided to the Lalibu and Pangia communities in the Southern Highlands through a new water bore completed by landowner company Anitua Radial Drilling Services (ARDS).

ARDS drill site representative Ken Fauntleroy said he was proud the company had been able to help locals by providing access to drinking water.

“We believe our successful water bore in Lialbu could not have been timed any better,” he said.

“Since the completion of the most recent bore ARDS could see the high demand for clean water around the area.”

“As a community minded company, we decided to start delivering water – providing free drinking water to the people.”

“The cost to our company is well worth the feeling you get when you see a mother collect a plastic of water, and know that her children will be drinking clean, disease free water – or when you see a local school re-open after receiving water,” he said.

The general public have access to the bore and people have been coming to the drill site to fill 20 litre containers.

Areas benefiting from the water include Lialbu, Pangai, Muli and Ponowa, and also hospitals, schools, catholic missions were on top of the list, and received first priority.

ARDS said in some cases the schools had closed down due to no water.

The group had made it clear to all visiting the bore that the water was not for sale and that it was the property of the PNG Government, Mr Fauntleroy said.

Pumping from 7:00am until 5:00pm since the middle of August, the water bore produces 570,000 litres of water per day, or 16 litres per second.

In Simbu, deputy administrator Alphonse Kee reported that water shortage at the main Kundiawa hospital has resulted in it being forced to send patients home.

A number of organisations, including Oxfam are responding to the needs of the affected.

Mr Fauntleroy said the district administrators acknowledged ARDS’s contribution and were very appreciative.

ARDS said it hopes to be able to drill more water bores for local level governments throughout PNG.

Water shortages are currently affecting more than 5 million people in PNG, and a severe El Niño weather warning is in place.

The director for the PNG National Weather Service, Samuel Maiha said the country is in El Niño now and is going to be affected severely over the next four months.

The El Niño is causing both drought and frost like weather in the highlands, leading to the devastation of crops.