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No legal basis for controlling ground water resources

Dili Weekly - August 21, 2019

Paulina Quintao – The General Director for Water and Sanitation (DNSA), Gustavo da Cruz said there is no legal basis to control the consumption of ground water, and that water production enterprises in the country produce gallons and small bottles of drinking water from ground water resources.

He said water production across Dili is mostly from underground water sources, because when the Maloa river, Lahane river, Be-namauk river, Be-mos river and Aitulilaran river dry out, it will be impossible to supply water if companies are depending only on fresh water.

He said there is no calculation of the quantity of ground water consumption, which will be a threat to the sustainability of the industry, because when ground water dries out, then seawater will come onshore and contaminate the production and quality of the drinking water.

"It is true that we use plenty of ground water, particularly big drinking water companies. We have not controlled it, because we need a legal basis to make an intervention," he said in his office, in Kolmera, Dili.

He added that, in 2016, the policy on water resource management was presented in the Council of Ministers, but it was not approved, but that the Ministry of Public Works will soon re-submit it to the Council Ministers to get its approval.

He also said that, the draft law on water resource management has been finalized, it will be brought together with this policy to the council of ministers for approval, and it will be used as a basis to control water resource consumption across the country.

Meanwhile, the Director for Toxicology Service at the National Health Laboratory (LNS), Pedro Almeida da Silva said there are almost over 45 drinking water industries within the country, but only 30% of them are actively doing routine testing for the water they bottle.

He said a laboratory team will go directly to those companies that do not bring their samples to be tested regularly, to take samples for testing, and to prevent harming consumers' health.

"To protect consumers' from diseases, we conduct a regular control once a year. We take water samples from the water industry in Dili and the municipalities to be tested," he said.

He said the laboratory is working with the Inspection and Monitoring Authority on Economic, Sanitation and Food Activities (AIFAESA) and the National Directorate for Water and Sanitation (DNSA) to conduct the tests.

Source: http://www.thediliweekly.com/en/news/17305-no-legal-basis-for-controlling-ground-water-resources