Water PNG clamps down on water bandits after Amnesty Period

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Water PNG is leading efforts to clamp down on massive illegal use of water in its 19 provincial and district Business Centers throughout the country. Following a month-long amnesty period Water PNG recently deployed a task force to clamp down on water bandits who have increased massively and are drastically affecting its operations.

Water PNG Manager Customer Services and Business Development Mr. Leo Kre said: “We have begun the crackdown on illegal water use starting in Kwikila, Central Province and this will be followed by Kokopo/Rabaul, Lae, Madang, Mt Hagen, Wewak, Kimbe, Alotau, Popondetta, Kundiawa, Wabag, Daru, Lorengau and Kavieng.

Mr. Kre said from the recent Clean-Up Clamp – Down Exercise in Kwikila last week; it was discovered that from a 150 paying customers there was only 29 paying customers and this was due to illegal water connections.

“Our current priority is to address 35% - 40% of possible unlawful use of water and reduce this Non-Revenue Water (NRW) rate by 2015,” Mr. Kre said.

“Over the years Water PNG has been committed to provide quality water to Papua New Guineans. However illegal water use has drastically increased affecting our operations to continue effectively.

This nationwide Clean-Up Clamp – Down Exercise will significantly decrease the water pilfering in our 19 Business Centers,” he said.

Mr. Kre explained that Water PNG customers had the Amnesty Month until April 1 to unhook illegal connections and become registered legal customers. However, violators will be arrested or fined under existing laws of the Criminal Code Act and the Water and Sewerage Act.”

He said the Task Force which comprised of in-house technical officers, Principal Legal Officer and a Police Team will identify and physically remove any illegal pipes.

In addition, Water PNG Corporate Planner Mr. Roger Kara said over the years, issues of NRW have reached critical stages of being one of the major impediments to business and growth.

Mr. Kara said without taking long term proactive measures, this would greatly affect WPNG’s bottom line and it is high time WPNG strategized to reduce its current NRW rating to  below 25% by 2015 and even to less than 15% by 2030.

However, he said this would require the effort of WPNG, its business partners and clients throughout its business centers in the country.

Meanwhile, General Manager Customer Service Mr. Joseph Yore said:  “Our primary interest is in collecting all the water revenue due to the country.”

“We know, and suspect, that there are quite a number of potential water customers out there, throughout the country, who are receiving and/or taking water illegally. 

“We would like this activity to stop; and for those persons engaged in this activity to become legal customers of Water PNG.

 “I hope many people took advantage of the amnesty period as we do not like the idea to settling illegal cases in municipal court for allegedly stealing water, Mr. Yore said.

Water PNG’s Amnesty Month provided a grace period for the reporting of all undocumented active connections which include illegal and unbilled connections. It gave an opportunity for past and potential customers to become legitimate customers without penalty or prosecution.

The Amnesty Month was from March to April 1st 2014.