The National newspaper reports that water supply disruptions continue to affect heavy consumers such as the South Seas Tuna Corporation in East Sepik. The disruptions are linked to PNG Power outages which prevent water pumps from running.
The Wewak-based tuna processing company said it was now forced to operate only two to three days a week due to the unreliable water supply in the province.
In 2018, the company reportedly lost more than K200,000 when it shut down operations for a day due to a lack of water. South Seas requires around 650,000 litres of water daily to process tuna.
In November 2021, the tuna firm had to temporarily lay off about 2000 workers.
In mid-April, the company said it had been forced to deal with almost daily shutdowns of power and water supplies since the beginning of this year.
In a statement, South Seas said that because of many blackouts, Water PNG was forced to use its emergency standby generator to continue the supply of water to the hospital, schools, residences and local businesses.
"In February, Water PNG suffered a setback when their standby generator broke down and they have been waiting for parts to restore it to operational condition," the company said.
"Until Water PNG's standby generator is working again, water supply is only available during the hours that PNG Power is operating."
The company said when normal power supply was available, Water PNG could run their water treatment systems and then pump filtered and chlorinated water to the community.
"Due to the prolonged water supply issue in Wewak, South Seas Tuna's production results for the first quarter of 2023 have been dismal.
"South Seas has only been able to operate two or three days per week because the shortage of water has forced the company to close down for the rest of the week, negatively impacting the earnings of their 2500 employees by nearly 50%," the company said.
South Seas Tuna said overall operating results for the first quarter of 2023 had been disappointing and operations at the processing plant could not be sustained on a long-term basis without steady and reliable power and water supplies.
"SSTC has expressed concern over the impacts of water and power disruption," it said.