A TOP executive of the Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc. (RVWCI) announced on Tuesday, October 3, that water supply will return to normal for residents of the western part of Cagayan de Oro City on October 6.
Engr. Joffrey Hapitan, RVWCI vice president, said water flow has already increased to 95 percent since last Sunday, October 1.
Hapitan, appearing before a City Council committee hearing presided by City Councilor Teodolfu Lao Jr., blamed the August 5 and September 24 earthquakes, which he said caused damages to water pipes in Cagayan River.
Cagayan River is the source of bulk water supply for the western parts of the city.
"Following the August 5 and September 24 earthquakes, our underwater pipelines crossing Cagayan river started to crack. On September 25, lines are already leaking, and on the following day, we stopped the delivery of water to isolate and repair the leaking portion," Hapitan said.
He said on September 27, the delivery of water supply resumed but added they were only able to supply 72 percent of their contract obligation to the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD).
In October 1, he said the flow of water was almost back to normal, as they are already supplying 38,000 cubic meter per day out of the 40,000 cubic meter per day requirement.
Hapitan said although the repair of the water pipes is still unfinished, they will be using an emergency water pipeline this Friday to normalize the water supply.
"We will do our very best to resume and restore 100 percent water supply in the households affected by the water crisis," Hapitan said.
Engineer Rachel Beja, COWD general manager, explained that although volume of the water has increased, many households still have low water supply to no water at all coming out of their faucets because of the low water pressure.
Beja said the volume and pressure of the water should go together to achieve a normal supply.
"There should be enough pressure at delivery point so that water supply would reach even to the farthest and most elevated areas in the city. It is impossible that the volume increases, but the pressure remains low," she said.
Hapitan, however, vowed that enough water pressure along with increased volume of water supply would be back on Friday.
Hapitan also said they have allotted P50 million to upgrade the pipeline system of the water consortium of Rio Verde pipelines.
"The original design of the pipelines is over the rivers but when Typhoon Sendong happened, it was also damaged, so instead, what we did was make submarine pipes. But what we did not foresee is the danger of our submarine pipelines in earthquakes, just like what is happening now," he said.
"We will install submarine pipes that can withstand earthquakes," Hapitan said.
He said they will install “redundant pipelines” which will be used in emergency cases, such as leaking pipelines.
Meanwhile, Beja said they are considering opening the city to other water concessionaires so as to supply enough water to the increasing number of city residents.
"We will look into that," Beja said, when asked by Councilor Lao if the move is possible.
Beja said that from the 40,000 cubic meter per day water requirement of the city, the demand has now increased to 60,000 cubic meter per day.
She said they have a standing additional 20,000 cubic meter purchase order to Rio Verde to augment supply to the existing water scarcity felt in the city.
However, Beja said she is confident that this will be addressed following the joint venture agreement (JVA) of the COWD and MetroPac Water Investments Corporation.
In the JVA, MetroPac is expected to supply of up to 100 million liters per day of treated bulk water, as well as construction of transmission lines and rehabilitation of the Camaman-an Reservoir to supply the COWD, which currently has about 90,000 service connections.