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Wednesday, November 6, 2013
WHAT a time to commemorate Cinco de Noviembre yesterday. No hay tenemos nada agua. We have no water.
Now what is the excuse this time? No water is flowing from our faucet. And Bacolod City Water District (Baciwa) didn’t even deign to explain to us consumers why we are being deprived of the precious liquid that we pay for monthly.
Is Baciwa trying to say we are being liberated from our water, nuestra agua mia, by separating us from our safe and potable water? That’s one “freedom” I can do without.
Yesterday’s lack of water has proved that Baciwa’s board, management and personnel are incapable of providing its 45,000 consumers with access to water, round the clock, 24/7.
Last November 3, I received an email from Roland Liemberger, who is described in his LinkedIn profile as a non-revenue water management specialist.
Liemberger used to work with the International Water Association, Asian Development Bank, and the World Bank. And this will certainly raise the hackles of some of Baciwa’s management, Baciwa Employees Union and Water Watch, Herr Liemberger is now working for Miya Arison Group.
Liemberger wrote: “Dear Mr Sànchez (sic), I just read your “Sound of Silence” article. Excellent! How true! …
“It is so sad that most water districts in the Philippines are so poorly managed that they lose 30 percent, 40 percent or even more of the precious drinking water while on the other hand supplying maybe only 50 percent of the population in their service areas. Before we engineers can deal with water loss reduction, it needs strong political leadership.
“That the water districts in the Philippines are allowed to perform so poorly (and Baciwa is only one of hundreds!) is so sad and so unnecessary. Everyone in the service area of a water district could have 24/7 water supply if someone would bring these guys (Directors AND Management!!) up to speed!”
Then Liemberger sent me an attachment of an ADB publication which he wrote a couple of years ago. “Just read the introduction (or even only the foreword!”
According to the first paragraph to the Foreword, “the rapid growth of Asia’s towns and cities, coupled with increased volumes of water for irrigated agriculture, energy, and industry, has meant that there is much less water to go around in the urban centers. The loss of an estimated 29 billion cubic meters of treated water every year, valued conservatively at $9 billion, is no longer something that Asia’s urban water managers can ignore.”
In other words, as many local columnists and readers of this column have pointed out, BACIWA consumers are losing money and water to NRW. It doesn’t take a degree in physics to realize that the losses will be passed not to BACIWA’s incompetent managers, but to its consumers.
There is now a current proxy war between the Puentevella and the Leonardia camps in BACIWA on whether to retain Marichi Ramos as a director.
Frankly, as a consumer, I don’t really care. Ramos might be replaced with another one who just the same will just be as incapable of solving the NRWs.
I’m not holding my breath that a replacement will solve NRWs. Unless the replacement is someone with an M.S. degree through the Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Program.
Otherwise, the Miya option is a possible escape hatch to water losses that BACIWA is inflicting on its paying consumers.
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on November 06, 2013.