Rural Water Supply & Sanitation Program at Ilahita



The Director,

European Commission,

Rue de la Loi 200
1049 Brussels


Subject:       Proposal for Rural Waster Supply & Sanitation (RWS) Project at Ilahita, Papua New Guinea


On behalf of the Ilahita Melbourne Community Association (IMCA), I would like to submit the following proposal for your consideration and support. 

Ilahita is a combination of seven sub village in PNG with a population of 3000 people. The people of this remote community do not have access to clean drinking water, no sanitation facilities and have little knowledge about their future direction or sustainability.  

The current situation of Ilahita is that:

  • 20% of the population experience water related illness such as diarrhea every year 
  • 60% of infants with cases of malaria

The main cause of their current plight is due to the non availability of water in the villages and use of improper sanitation methods. We hope that with the funds from the European Union we will be able to address this problem by providing clean reliable water systems and proper sanitation facilities that will help in  ‘improving the wellbeing’ of the people of Ilahita. 

Other added benefit of our project is that while we address the sanitation problem, we will construct compost toilet so that human waste can be converted into fertilizer, thereby increasing crop yield which will ensure the sustainability of the people and help in preserving the environment of Ilahita. 

The Funding required from the EU for this Project is Euro 100,000. If the funds are available, the project will be ready to start by February, 2009 and will be completed within a year.  

Attached is the technical feasibility report for you kind reference.

We hope to hear from you favorably,

Yours faithfully,

Jigme T. Tsering

(For IMCA)


Project Title:         Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme at Ilahita

Location(s) Ilahita (Sub-village1 to 7), East Sepik Province, PNG

Total cost of the project and amount requested from RWSSP

Total cost of the projectAmount requested from RWSSPRWSSP % of total cost of project
369,900 Kina Kina %

Summary Concept Note

Duration of the projectFebruary 2009 to February 2010 (12 months)
Implementing Partner(s)Ilahita Melbourne Community Association (IMCA)
Target group(s)[1]Community of Ilahita Villages (7 sub villages)
Final beneficiaries[2]Population of 2742, Number of Households 617
Overall objective[3]Improve health and well being of the village community
Specific purpose[4]Reliable water source (95% reliability) through rain water harvesting and proper sanitation facilities.
Expected resultsThe community of Ilahita will have access to safe reliable drinking water and proper sanitation facilities. With awareness and training programs during the construction phase the community will be educated about the importance of hygiene etc so that they would implement good practices.The community would be fully involved so that ‘ownership’ of the project will be theirs, to ensure sustainability of the project. However, in the training programs, skills will be taught to the participants to ensure that they would be able to maintain the systems.
Main activities     Community Meeting (formally make agreement on scope of work, implementation locations decided by community, responsibilities, manpower contribution, maintenance etc.), survey of identified Location, Awareness Program / Training, Arrangement of Materials, Construction, Testing and Commission, Monitoring and Review

Executive Summary

Ilahita is a village in Papua New Guinea with a population of 3000. The report “Better Health and Improved Wellbeing for Ilahita: Report of Visit and Options Proposal”, by Dr. Graham Moore during his visit to PNG in January, 2008 reveal the plight of the people.

 Some observation of the report highlighted that:

  1. 60% of infants has cases of malaria 
  2. 20% of the population experience diarrhea every year
  3. Water had to fetched from distance as far as one hour away
  4. No proper sanitation facilities were 

The Ilahita Melbourne Community Association under the guidance of Dr. Graham Moore, are trying to initiate activities that promote the ‘health and well being of the residents of Ilahita’. 

This project objective hopes to provide better water supply systems and sanitation facilities so that there will be decrease in the number of water borne disease case while addressing the nutrient cycle to improve the yield of the crops.

The Project will accomplish the following goals:

  • 8 Liter/Person/Day or 40 Liters/Household/day using Rainwater harvesting 
  • Double Chamber Compost Toilet
  • Educate people Health, Hygiene, HIV, Gender awareness etc.
  • The reliability of the solution (95 years in 100 years)

We hope that the EU will support us by funding Euro 100,000 for this project. While 50% of the fund will be spent on the Rain water harvesting system, 30% will be spent on Sanitation facilities and 20% on training and education. The Project is to start in February 2009 for a period of a year. 

Ilahita is at a crossroad where population growth vs. environment sustainability is of critical importance, and that impacts made at this point in time would by far outweigh any benefit of similar projects in the future. 

While most of the modern world has access to so much resources and facilities, this distant village in PNG lacks even the most basic of amenities.

EU funded projects have been known in making a difference by supporting local communities. This is another area where the EU funds can make a difference. 

Therefore, we hope that EU will assist IMCA to put into action our desire to contribute to this community. As they say it take ‘two hands to clap’. Let us (IMCA) also be part of the EU vision to contribute and do our share for the betterment of humanity.


Table of Content

1. Introduction

1.1 Site Background

1.1.1 Geography

1.1.2 Climate

1.1.3 Demography

1.1.4 Society

1.1.5 Health

1.1.6 Education

1.1.7 Economy

2. Problem Definition

2.1 Goal

2.2 Objective, Criteria and Constraints

2.3 Stakeholders

2.4 The Design Parameters

3.  Possible Design Options for water supply and Sanitation

3.1 Background of Problem Issues

3.2 Design Options

4. Design Solutions

4.1 Design solution Discussion:

4.1.1 Design Solution 1

4.1.2 Design Solution 2

4.1.3 Design Solution 3

4.2 Weight Criteria (Society, Economy and Environment)

4.3 Design solution Chosen

4.3.1 Discussion

4.3.2 Design Solution determination by Multi evaluation Criteria

5. Detailed Design of Chosen Solution for Ilahita

5.1 Design for Rainwater Harvesting System

5.2 Design of Composting Toilet System

6. Implementation and monitoring

7. Financial

8. Conclusion




1. Introduction

Ilahita is a cluster of 7 villages (population around 3000) in East Sepik Province, Papua New Guinea. The closest town is Maprik which is 11 km away, and the local airport is at Wewak some 150 km (about six hours drive) from Ilahita. As per the OCHA Regional Office for Asian Pacific, Ilahita villages are in an area highly affected by earthquake and floods.

However while earthquake and floods may be of concern, the villages are experiencing other changes that are effecting their very survival and sustainability. Some of the major issues are as follows:

  • Rapid population expansion from 1,500 in 1997 to 3,000 in 2008 
  • The community has no existing water supply and are dependent on springs
  • The community relies on pit toilet for sanitation which often intercept water table
  • Yields from food grown in garden is decreasing
  • Water borne disease and declining nutrient standards are effecting quality of life

People from the Ilahita community are concerned about the long term sustainability of their villages (Source: Harris Bein, Ilahita) and have expressed their desire to do something about it. However due to their lack of education, knowledge and financial resources, there is very little that can be done on their part. Therefore, while we hope to address the  of poor water supply and sanitation which will improve their wellbeing, we hope that in the process, additional knowledge and skills will be imparted to the community, that will help them in other spheres of life, which will help in their overall development.  

1.1 Site Background

1.1.1 Geography

Ilahita Villages located in East Sepik of Papua New Guinea with geographical coordinates of 3° 41′ 0″ South, 142° 56′ 0″. Ilahita Village is near to the highway connecting Lumi to Wewak. Wewak is the closest city and the nearest principle port from Ilahita. The nearby mountain is named Prince Mountains, and Ilahita lies between Nanu and Amuk Rivers.

Figure 1, Source: Map: Ilahita (Sub-village1 to 7), East Sepik, PNG (source LMS, data, District Map, Maprik)

1.1.2 Climate

The climate of PNG is tropical monsoonal, with high humidity. The wet seasons are from May to October and dry season from November to April. 

The rainfall experienced by Ilahita is very high rain annual rainfall. The average rainfall recorded which is the average of the measurement recorded is 1947.80 mm per year. This Data has been collected from 1939 to 1990, but data has been very scarce. 

Figure 2: Average rainfall recorded (Based on Appendix D)

1.1.3 Demography

Ilahita has no statistics registry for recording births and deaths. Information storage is virtually non existent and is basically passed on by word of mouth from generation to generation, by people addressing huge gathering of relevant information etc. 

A census conducted by Graham Moore over one week in January 2008 found Ilahita to have 617 houses in the seven villages with a total population of 2742 (1385 males and 1357 females). The total population has grown at a rate of about 1.75% and number of households at 1.5%.

1.1.4 Society

Ilahita is a village which is subdivided into 7 sub-villages. The number of Christians in the village has grown substantially, and due to that there is increase tension between the Church and village elders regarding issues of domestic nature, such as a man keeping more than one wife. However, these are left to be settled by the people and they have a way of sorting out without too much interference. 

1.1.5 Health

Ilahita have very little access to health care with only one nurse. Due to that, many people die from treatable illness such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, diarrhea, and malaria. Further, lacks of animal protein in the food are leading to protein malnutrition in the diet. 

The most common disease is skin disease, pneumonia and malaria. Malaria alone accounts for 60% of cases in infant. About 20% of the population experience malaria every year.  

1.1.6 Education

The literacy rate for adults is very low with about 90% to 95% of people illiterate. Very few children go to higher school, with children being selected into school based on their height as no date of birth are recorded. Therefore, children are much older in school as compared to other countries. There are about 550 students going to Primary School (Dr. Graham Moore, 2008) with about 12 teachers. This primary school teacher: student ratio of 1 to 46 affects the quality of education in addition to inadequacy of teaching materials. Future for students going outside of Ilahita is very few due to the fact that money is not available for their education.

1.1.7 Economy

Ilahita does not have an economy. The village has a road to Wewak which is in a not maintained. Imports are virtually non existent as the people do not have money to purchase good. They do not sell cash crops outside their village or do not have any other means of generating money for their economy. The level of skills of people is very low, and the few that are skilled have been working in the cities as construction workers / labor prior to returning to the village. 

2. Problem Definition

2.1 Goal

The goal of this project is designed to improve the health and wellbeing of the village community of Ilahita, by implementing solutions that are sustainable. 

2.2 Objective, Criteria and Constraints

The objective is to be achieved by providing access of the community to safe water supply and sanitation facilities, by constructing good water systems and proper latrines suitable for Ilahita. (This would result in a decrease in the number of water borne disease cases.)

The spatial scope of the project has been documented in Appendix A

The Goals, Purpose, Outputs, and Activities required for this project have been summarized in the Logical Framework Matrix which is attached in Appendix B

Objective for design and benchmark for measurement

Sl  No ObjectiveBenchmarkCategory
1Increase in Life expectancyLife Expectancy PredictionSocial
2Increase in quality of lifeExpected increase of people in enjoymentSocial
3Increase awareness / knowledgePredict understanding of hygiene and healthSocial
4Improve Sanitation / Hygiene (less health care expenditure)Decrease in health related cases, less expenditure Economic
5Cost of projectIncrease in cost to benefit ratioEconomic
6Reduced time (water collection) (economic category, as time can be spent on other activity; not considered in social category because social time can be increased by other activity)More free time for productivityEconomic
7Sustainability (impact on environment) Sustainable resource to population ratioEnvironment

Figure 3: Project Objectives, Benchmark and Categories


  • Occupational Health and Safety standards must be met during the construction (AS 4801)
  • Australian Water Drinking Guideline for water quality must be maintained
  • Solution will only consider drinking, sanitation (hygiene- hand washing), and cooking water during the dry months. Volume of tanks will be based on this assumption. 
  • All rules and regulations of PNG to be upheld during implementation. 

Objective should address the water cycle and nutrient cycle for sustainability

Water cycle: If the water entering the community by natural means can be harvested and stored, then the community would be have ready available water that would not be time consuming to transport from far away locations. 

Figure: Current water cycle 

Nutrient Cycle in Ilahita: The current nutrient cycle in Ilahita is open. Hence every year the nutrient in the soil is depleted resulting in fewer yields of crops. The people are then clearing more land for growing crop to keep up with the demand of food. If the nutrient cycle is closed, the yield of crops would increase drastically.

Figure: Nutrient cycle

2.3 Stakeholders

The stakeholders who will be involved in this will comprise of the following:

  • Community of Ilahita- As the results of the project would give the people of the community better health and improved wellbeing, they are the main benefactor of the project. Currently the villages are concerned about their own sustainability in term of water etc, and therefore they would be willing to contribute labor for their own benefit.
  • Local Cultural leaders- The local leaders would be crucial in informing the community and ensuring their support in implementing the project which is for the benefit for their community. They will have a strong influence on the decision making process.
  • Church priest- The church would be instrumental in informing the community and getting ensuring their support in implementing the project. They will have a strong influence in decision making process.
  • Health clinic (nurse) – Better water and sanitation projects would ensure that the cases of disease incidents are drastically reduced, thereby easing pressure on the health care. 
  • NGO’s involved in Ilahita- There could help in financial and support for the project. Also based on their past experiences in other projects, they could incorporate other programs simultaneously, that would benefit the local community.
  • European Union- As the funding will be provided by EU, they will need to be fully aware of the progress of the program and that the funds are achieving the desired targets.
  • University of Melbourne- The Ilahita Melbourne Community Association would want to ensure that the program which has been initiated should be completed at the earliest possible with all desired outputs achieved. In that way, there is always future opportunity to apply for extra grant from the EU for the benefit of Ilahita Community. 

2.4 The Design Parameters

 Prior to the design it is important to identify the entire variable, such as inputs and outputs that can affect the outcome of the project. They are identified as:

  • Controlled inputs: input’s that are within the designers control such as amount of money, materials, labor, time, expertise etc.
  • Desired output: output’s that are intended by the design such as improved water supply, proper sanitation facilities, compost as fertilizer etc
  • Uncontrolled inputs: input perimeters that are beyond our control such as rainfall, population, water usage, sewage production, crop production etc.
  • Undesired outputs: outputs not intended such as contamination of ground water, nutrient diversion, increased dependency, waterborne disease etc.

Other factors such as Education and Economy can not be directly addressed in this design report. However, as education in terms of sanitation awareness / maintenance training is of importance for the desired outcome, it will be included in the Implementation stages to ensure success of the project. 

3.  Possible Design Options for water supply and Sanitation

3.1 Background of Problem Issues


  • Lack of access to safe water
  • Unreliability of water source with springs often drying up in the dry season
  • Contamination of unprotected water source which is at a lower level than the village and therefore the some latrines waste seeps into the water table
  • Collection of water is a very laborious job and is time consuming, with member of each household spending many hours fetching water for consumption and cooking
  • Due to the location of the water sources and the terrain condition, during the wet seasons it is very dangerous to access the water source
  • As there are no proper methods of water management, spring waters can also get contaminated at the location
  • Waterborne disease such as cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, diarrhea and skin disease are common
  • Due to stagnation of water, mosquito breeding results in lots of malaria cases (single biggest disease)


  • Latrines (pit toilet) are open unprotected pits 
  • Due to the shortage of water, it will be a common practice not to wash hands after using the toilet
  • Population explosion has put severe stress on this method of sanitation
  • Some pits waste intercept the water table

Sustainability and Environment

  • Population is increasing rapidly putting a strain on the resources
  • Nutrient cycle is an open cycle. The nutrient from the soil which grows food is consumed by the people but ends up in the latrines. Hence there is a nutrient loss to the soil. This results in people clearing more area for cultivation to grow food as the yield is less every year due to the nutrient loss.
  • The street storm water system which discharges the runoff from building, gardens and roads into the local landscape results in soil erosion

3.2 Design Options

(for full report kindly contact the author).