January 27, 2022

Water community project in Higaturu

Conservation and restoration
60% of Papua New Guineans do not have access to clean drinking water, an essential foundation for the good health of the entire community. Water-borne diseases, such as diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections, continue to be one of the leading causes of deaths in children under five years old. PNG is currently ranked at the bottom of all Pacific countries for all water, sanitation and health statistics, with over 6,000 diarrheal deaths per year*. This is not an issue of scarcity, but more of distribution and access to clean water. In many communities, women and school aged girls are responsible for collecting water for their families and have to walk long distances to do so.  

To address these challenges, NBPOL is helping improve local infrastructure, such as the construction of wells. We also educate the public on the importance of protecting our waterways. In 2017, NBPOL surveyed 21 communities’ access to water in the Oro’s Higaturu province. The survey showed that 20 of them use surface water sources while one uses a dug well. From this total, 19 villages affirmed that their water source was not of reliable quality. Members of three villages needed to walk more than one kilometre to retrieve water for daily use, two of which would locals more than an hour’s roundtrip to do so.  

Based on this study, NBPOL, Nestlé Germany and the Earthworm Foundation began a partnership programme to direct clean water to the villages surrounding our HOP operations. During 2018 and 2019, 28 water pumps were installed, which continues to benefit approximately 7,350 community members. Community members have responded positively, reporting that drinking water quality has not only improved but that they also have more time to carry out other activities without the need to walk to the rivers to collect water. Under the programme, we are now undergoing testing of the water quality and training community members to maintain and repair the pumps.  

This project falls under NBPOL Foundation’s One Hour PrinciplePartnership, a programme we launched in 2013 to ensurethat no community member should walk more than one hour to have access to drinking water, health services, and education. 

Seethe video on the water project for more.WATER COMMUNITY PROJECT IN HIGATURU

*UNICEF Papua New Guinea (n.d.) Water, Sanitation and Hygiene [Online] (Accessed 8 October 2020)