Residents of Walium Station (in the Usino-Bundi District of Madang) and the surrounding local communities of approximately 5000 people, will soon receive a permanent and better-established water supply after 40 years.

The water supply project is one of major benefits from the National Government PIP Commitments to be delivered under the Ramu Nickel Mining Project Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

The Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) through its geoscience technical arm, the Geological Survey Division, has been working with other technical agencies (Fimali Ltd and Water PNG Ltd) on the water project since 2020.

The MRA’s role in the project has mainly been to:

  1. Source PIP funding from the Department of National Planning and Implementation and Department of Finance to secure budgetary allocations for the project.
  2. Carry out full scale groundwater investigations to identify suitable freshwater aquifers in the subsurface for drilling.
  3. Drill boreholes and confirm the proposed freshwater aquifers
  4. Develop the bores with the most suitable aquifer into a production water well
  5. Conduct pumping tests in the production well to obtain relevant aquifer characteristics
  6. Collect water samples and submit to a PNGLAS accredited laboratory for testing
  7. Engage Water PNG Ltd to carry out detailed feasibility study of the Walium Water Supply Network.

Recently, a joint team of experts from MRA and Water PNG Ltd visited Walium Station to carry out the feasibility study which was completed successfully. The team consisted of a hydrogeologist and hydrological engineers.

“This will be a great relief to the people of the station and surrounding communities,” said the District Administrator (DA) of Usino Bundi District, Mr. Stephen Biko. He said the station had been without a proper established water supply for about 40 years.

The DA said over the years and up to the present, residents and service providers at the station had been using rainwater in storage tanks and water from rivers and creeks nearby for sanitation, cooking, shower and other necessary domestic uses, and to provide services like health and education to the local community.

Usino-Bundi District Health Manager Mr. Carlson Swemo said the District developed and constructed a miniwater supply system for the Health Centre and few other small water supply schemes but these systems did not last.

Walium Station boasts a new sporting venue, a community hall (both of which were commissioned recently), a hospital, a school, church and other social establishments that need proper water supply system such as the one that is being worked on by MRA and Water PNG Ltd.

The MRA’s Geological Division is proud to be working on this project as it views it to be a life-changing project for the people of Walium Station.

This project falls under the MRA’s ‘Geoscience for Humanity’ concept where geological science is applied in real life and implement projects to improve livelihoods of communities around the country.

Top image caption: Hydrogeologists and hydrological engineers from MRA and Water PNG respectively, carrying out feasibility study at the project site at Walium. The team is assisted by locals.