Monday, September 25, 2017
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3. GEOSCIENCE FOR HUMANITY
3.1 Water Supply and Sanitation

The Division carries out appropriate geophysical data acquisition to assist mineral exploration throughout the country. Large airborne geophysical surveys are done by specialised contractors, while the Division does small detailed ground geophysics.

In 2014, groundwater investigations were conducted as part of the region’s attempts to develop a “food security farm” project at Kivori, Central Province. The project is funded by the UNDP through Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP)’s Pacific Adaptation to Climate Change program. The investigation revealed two potential aquifers:

  1. coastal alluvial and colluvial along the alluvial fan and
  2. potential fractured rock aquifer at depth within Apanaipi Formation.
    The geo-electrical layer interpretations found potential porosity containing fresh groundwater. However, with no past borehole information of the area, a shallow well was recommended for further investigation. (extracted from a report on share drive with no author/TN #)


The Namatanai Secondary School groundwater investigations were conducted in 2013 to identify suitable groundwater aquifers for its water supply. The school uses three water sources: 
  1. shallow well used to pump water which has shut down due to mechanical problems with its pumping system, 
  2. rainwater catchments using 15 x 6, 000L capacity tuffa tanks and 
  3. water carting from Selimun Spring located near Namatanai Town 7km away from the school. A nearby creek is used for bathing/laundry. Water from the creek and the shallow well were found to be contaminated and unsafe for consumption. Two locations were identified within the school grounds where groundwater could be accessed by drilling to about 10-12m depth. For full report, refer to Egara and Fabila (2013).

The Namatanai Town groundwater assessment was done in 2002 and a follow up survey in 2014 to identify suitable groundwater aquifer locations for drilling. The town uses clean untreated water pumped from the Matakan River. There is good groundwater potential for the Town’s water supply at about 10-15m depth near the existing water pumping facility. Refer full report by Simon Egara (2002) and Irarue et al., (2013).


Groundwater potential studies for new proposed townships commenced in 2014, in parallel with geotechnical engineering studies that are aimed at helping town planners in infrastructure development for new urban areas. The first of such investigations commenced for Walium and Usino Stations in Madang. The groundwater investigations revealed existence of water table at shallow depths (14 - 18m) for both stations. Recommendations for drilling will be presented in a report by Otmar et al., (2015 draft) that is still in progress.