‘Water firms should be more transparent’-A A +A
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
AN ENVIRONMENTAL conservationist calls for sustainable conservation of water sources through the preservation of watersheds, lower volume of water lost through pipe leaks, and the construction of rainwater catchments.
Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water (CUSW) Director Socorro Atega said water utility firms should be transparent and provide updated information.
She said the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) program to search for sources of surface water is long overdue, as there is over-extraction of groundwater sources, causing saltwater intrusion.
She said that despite the state of groundwater, the MCWD still allows groundwater extraction by bulk water suppliers.
Atega said saltwater intrusion monitoring is done by two entities, the MCWD and the WRC.
On the claim that MCWD Employees’ Union (MEU) is regularly conducting bacteriological and salinity tests, Atega said this could be a third source of information.
“But how reliable is their testing procedure and do the results of tests reflect the status of saltwater intrusion?” she said.
“Salinity is one aspect, the quality of water for domestic and household use is a different aspect,” said Atega.
She said there are environment-friendly means to address water conservation, such as preservation of watersheds, particularly the Buhisan Watershed that is part of the MCWD compound.
There should also be a focus on the reduction of non-revenue water or water systems loss through broken pipes and construction of rainwater catchments in households.
“There should also be transparency in bidding (for projects) and they (MCWD) should keep people informed,” she also told Sun.Star Cebu.
She said there should be a representative of a nongovernment organization that advocates water conservation measures or similar programs.
Charmaine Rodriguez, MCWD Public Information Department manager, said the company is bidding out the work for dredging at the Buhisan Dam to increase capacity of the pondage area.
She said bidding for projects is published, while the implementation of the law calling for the construction of rainwater catchments is the responsibility of local government units.
The MEU officials recently raised the issue of water supply for Metro Cebu and questioned the loan agreement of MCWD with the Asian Development Bank worth $400 million.
In an interview over DYAB, MCWD General Manager Armando Paredes said the loan has not yet been released and the study on the search for surface water sources and wastewater system is not yet finished.
The schedule for the first tranche of the loan worth $70 million is between 2012 and 2016, the second tranche of $70 million between 2015 and 2019, and the last tranche of $60 million is expected between 2018 and 2022.
He also dispelled allegations that the water utility company has not addressed the need to reduce non-revenue water.
Last year, the company reported a decrease in systems loss from 30 percent to 28 percent that is equivalent to 1.4 million cubic meters (cu.m.) of water or P9.8 million in a year on production based on prevailing price of P7 per cu.m.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 24, 2012.