THE Cagayan de Oro City Water District (COWD) is urging the public to stock up on water as they prepare for the worst following the state-run weather bureau’s forecast that Tropical Storm Basyang will traverse Misamis Oriental.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has placed Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon under Signal Number 1 since Monday morning.
In an advisory, the COWD advised the public to store gallons of water enough for three days for drinking and bathing.
COWD assistant general manager Engineer Bienvenido Batar Jr. said the water facility is on its alert level III, which means the sealing of small holes in booster stations and pumping stations, including checking the operability of generator sets and also stocking up on fuel especially if power will be out.
Level III also means the activation of the water utility's emergency operations center which is active for 16 hours.
"This is mainly to protect our facilities and also our employees," Batar said.
If flooding will again occur especially in Macasandig village, Batar said they will have to shut down its Macasandig station automatically, which has most of the production wells serving the central area of the city.
Shutting down Macasandig station means no water supply in the central area, including barangays Puntod, Macabalan, portions of Lapasan, and the elevated areas in Gusa.
Although half of the Macasandig station equipment is already resilient to flooding, they still need to shut down and immediately clean the production wells for fear of contamination.
"Our pump and motors are all submersible so essentially we can operate but if it's the booster station that will go down, and this is what we expect in Macasandig, we can't supply water fast, it will took us days to restore water, just like what happened in Vinta which took us 8 days before the total recovery," Batar said.
Batar however said production wells in flood-free areas will stay on and will continue feed to the network.
"We advise you to stock up on water, we are expecting the same aftermath that we experienced from typhoon Vinta, so we are preparing for the worst. They should store especially drinking water but we promise to do our best, and if flooding do happen, we will work as fast as we can so restore the supply immediately," he added.
The city government on Sunday activated its Incident Management Team, a team involving different government agencies that are disaster-ready.
The Department of Interior and Local Government Central Office Disaster Information Coordinating Center has placed the city under high risk alert level as it is within the 100 kilometer radius from the forecast track of Basyang. Moderate to heavy rainfall is expected in Northern Mindanao.
Published in the SunStar Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 13, 2018.