PNG is one of the wettest places in the world. Average rainfall is 3000 mm per year with some parts—especially in the Western Province—commonly experiencing over 4000 mm per year. PNG’s capital, Port Moresby, receives rain only between October/November and March/April. PNG enjoys abundant water resources that have great potential for development. The country is home to a vast network of springs, streams, creeks, rivers, and lakes. Principal rivers include the Fly, the Sepik, the Markham, the Purari and the Kikori. Most Papua New Guineans depend on surface water to meet their needs. Groundwater is also heavily relied on to meet the demands of local populations of major provincial towns like Lae, Vanimo, Rabaul, and Kavieng. Relatively little surface water is available in the coastal areas. Freshwater resources are used for domestic consumption, industrial purposes, transport, and the generation of hydropower. However, these resources are being gradually degraded and misused largely due to rapid industrial and resources development, population pressure, and forestry and agricultural expansion. Projected increases in future temperatures, coupled with increasingly shifting rainfall patterns, will require the establishment of an efficient water management system in order to secure access to reliable water sources. PNG could greatly benefit from expanding its irrigation system and introducing new water-saving technologies to the local populations.
This section provides insights into projected climate change impacts on various hydrological indicators.