IT’S Monday morning. Josephine is awakened by her mother to go and fetch water at a main tap located not far from where they live.
Quickly Josephine runs to the main tap to fill two big containers with water to use to bath and make her morning tea.
It’s a daily routine for Josephine who lives in a settlement in Port Moresby to fetch water for the family to use.
“Living in a settlement is tough and one must be strong to put up with the challenges that come with living in a settlement.
“And one of those challenges is getting water because everybody used to get water from one tap and sometimes the pressure is low and sometimes there is no water at all,” said Josephine mother.
On Tuesday this week Eda Ranu facilitated a water vending seminar aimed at encouraging people especially those living in settlements to pay for the water they use.
Josephine’s mother was one of the many participants that attended the seminar and open forum the next day to learn more about the new concept Eda Ranu was going to bring into the settlements.
“I like the concept because it’s going to be organised and I know we will never have problems with access to water.
“At last we won’t be accused for using free water because now we will be paying for the water we  use,” she said. 
 Water supply in Port Moresby has come a long way. Archives tell of the system being built in 1950s. Since then the network from source to treatment plant to distribution system and to the customer taps has increased tremendously.
History also records that billing users was practiced until people’s attitudes changed dramatically during the transition phases of the city’s administration starting from ANGAU through to ward systems, city council and the interim NCDC days.
Lack of proper organisation and monitoring, breakdown of control and malpractices in management led to the collapse of bill collection and residents of NCD enjoyed free water during colonial days.
Port Moresby is home to people from different cultural backgrounds (800 plus different languages) that perceive, value and manage water differently.
Some even claim to own water because the source is on their customary land (60-70% of land in PNG is still customary owned).
Others claim to be landlords after occupying a certain piece of land over a long period of time and authorities are unable to remove them.
Meeting the grossly over populated national capital’s water and sanitation needs as a result of rapid rural-urban drift is a daunting challenge but one upon which Eda Ranu strives on to challenge itself to be innovative and consumer cost effective.
Chairperson of Association of Small Scale Water providers and founder Ms Elsa Meija from Philippines was the guest speaker at the seminar and open forum and spoke to water committee members about her experience in the water vending business.
Meija told the water committee members from the settlements about the water vending concept using the Philippines scenario.
Meija who started supplying and distributing water in 1997 to 50, 000 plus people in urban and rural settlements in the Philippines said the secret of water vending was total participation by the whole settlement community.
She said her company called the Impact Water Workers and Development Corporation (IWADCO) project impact areas were health, education and gender.
Meija said not only must the water vender go out and supply water and collect fees but must also assist the community with projects that will benefit the community.
Water vending in principle is retailing by contractors to consumers in selected communities arranged through a Water Vending Agreement (WVA) signed between the principle water supplier Eda Ranu and selected water vendor for a particular community such as a traditional village or a settlement within the city’s boundaries upon receipt of an invoice.
As a retailer the water vendor will pay Eda Ranu through the community.
The retailer will then put up a markup within the range as stipulated in the WVA and collect from consumers.
The water vendor will manage and be in total control of water consumed in the selected communities and enforce appropriate measures to ensure consumers comply with the conditions as set out in the WVA.
The water vending concept is a business venture and could be operated by an individual or a group.
The water vendor shall be a duly registered company with the Investment Promotion Authority with an operating bank account and an operating office and manpower with the appropriate plumbing skills to provide the services required by Eda Ranu.
 Eda Ranu CEO Billy Imar when opening the one day seminar in Port Moresby pointed out that one of their major challenges to date is Non Revenue Water (NRW) which accounts for about 60% of the total production or total inflow into the city’s supply and distribution system.
He said that minimising and maintaining optimum levels of water distribution after some NRW reduction projects and turning the NRW into revenue water is a gigantic problem that Eda Ranu faces everyday.
“Evident contributing factors are illegal connections within state leased properties and unbilled supply to settlements and traditional villages although there are laws in place to guide these.
“Currently enforcing the laws is a huge problem and an on going task of water mains disconnection is being carried out on an as reported basis particularly within sub divided areas with state leased titles.
“A project or a major exercise was started in December 2010 that ran only for a few months.
This was to have been implemented to cover an entire suburb of Gerehu however due to security reasons it has been put on hold,” said Imar.
The ever increasing problem of squatter settlements and illegal occupation of state land and customary land has put a demand on Eda Ranu’s services.
Imar said other customary land occupation involves land sale agreements between landowners and private individuals of which a remarkable increase had being noted in recent times.
“It generates a problem where there is no established regulation or policy to regulate such practices whereby the state or the authorities can enforce and facilitate whenever demand for basic services are requested by private individuals, a classic example of this is the Taurama Valley area.
“We do face some setbacks or hindrances in educating the general public (water awareness), Conservation Action Plan, under estimated future demand for water and lack of liaison and collaboration with government authorities to address the issues faced by settlements.
“Eda Ranu like other SOEs is looking at innovative ways to convert the non revenue water in peri-urban areas into revenue water in consultation with the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation programme.
“Eda Ranu aims to achieve its water and sanitation service targets as set out in the millennium development goals,” said Imar