WATER supply continues to drop in some areas in Cebu City and Talisay City, with the Jaclupan water source yielding less than one-third its usual supply this week.

Some areas in these two cities will have to deal with only six hours of water supply each day, an official of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) said.

This week, the weather bureau confirmed that Cebu is one of 16 provinces gripped by a dry spell. This means its rainfall has dropped to 21 to 60 percent of the usual amount in the last three months.

“Recent analyses suggest that this El Niño episode will likely continue and intensify to moderate strength in the next coming months and may last until early 2016,” said the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) website.

To cope with greater demand during the school season, the MCWD is asking the public, particularly those who operate boarding houses, to store water. Classes in all levels start tomorrow.

Water supply, while low, hasn’t fallen as much as it did in the 2005 and 2010 dry spell, said Charmaine Rodriguez-Kara, MCWD public affairs manager.

But in an advisory, MCWD said that Jaclupan can only produce 10,000 cubic meters from its average normal production of 33,000 cubic meters per day.

Areas affected

“This week, Jaclupan really went down in terms of production, which is an effect of the weak El Niño,” Kara said.

In Cebu City, these areas may have to deal with dry taps for around 18 hours a day: Bulacao, Inayawan, Cogon Pardo, Quiot, Kinasang-an, Basak Pardo, Basak San Nicolas, Mambaling, Punta Princesa, Tisa, Labangon, Banawa-Salvador, Calamba, Sambag 1, Sambag 2, Pahina Central, Sawang Calero, Pasil, Ermita, Taboan, Kalubihan, Carbon Market, Santa Cruz, Cogon Ramos, San Antonio, Day-as, T. Padilla, Tejero, Lorega, Carreta, part of M. J. Cuenco Ave., Osmeña Blvd., part of Guadalupe, M. Velez, Capitol Site and portions of Kamputhaw.

In Talisay City, affected areas include Lagtang, Lawaan, Mojon, Tabunok, San Isidro, Cansojong, Dumlog, Pooc, Biasong, San Roque, Tangke and Bulacao.

Of the more than one million estimated consumers of MCWD in its service area, Kara said, only 40 percent have 24/7 water supply at the moment, because of the dry spell.

MCWD can only produce 193,000 cubic meters of water from all its sources, including Buhisan Dam, ground and surface water sources and the supply from Carmen Bulk Water.

Before the dry spell, the water district produced 220,000 cubic meters per day.

Below normal

Since the Buhisan Dam has reached a critical level in March, it can only produce 2,000 cubic meters from its normal production of 8,000 cubic meters.

“This is not alarming yet, but karon pa ta kasuway nga daghan ta’g complaints nga nadawat regarding water supply interruption (This is the first time we’ve received so many complaints regarding water supply interruption),” Kara said.

The situation isn’t going to get better soon, if Pag-asa’s latest advisory is any indication.

In an advisory posted last June 3, the weather bureau said that in May, 80 percent of the country received below normal rainfall.

From October 2014 to May 2015, 60 percent of the country has had to deal with either a drought or a dry spell.

Cebu is one of 16 provinces affected by a dry spell.

Three other provinces in Central Visayas—Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor—are among 31 provinces in the grip of a drought. (A drought, according to Pag-asa, is three straight months when an area gets less than 60 percent of its average rainfall for the period.)

Store water

MCWD is asking the public to store water good for the next 24 hours.

“For owners of dorms, boarding houses and apartments, as part of your climate change adaptation, please install water tanks to ensure you can store enough water for your occupants’ use,” read the advisory.

Kara said that MCWD has discussed with Carmen a plan to augment their water supply.

In January this year, Carmen started to supply 18,000 cubic meters of water per day to MCWD.

The water district has agreed to add 17,000 cubic meters next year as they expand and rehabilitate supply lines.

But because of the current state of production, Kara said, Carmen has started to supply 6,000 additional cubic meters to MCWD.

“We can’t ask for the entire 17,000 cubic meters because we are still undertaking repairs of our lines; if we do it now, water might end up getting wasted,” she said.