Water crisis worsens with Jaclupan Dam drying up

DEPLETED, DRY: The weir of Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) in Barangay Jaclupan, Talisay City is nearly depleted as rains have not come. (Inset) Dead fish and clams are found on the infiltration and sedimentation basins that have dried up. Story on 2. (Photos by Allan Cuizon)

AT LEAST 24,000 households in Talisay City and parts of downtown Cebu City will only have running water for one to two hours a day starting Wednesday, April 24, as water production at the Jaclupan Dam continues to drop as a result of the El Niño.

The Cebu City Council has requested the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) to come up with a long-term solution to resolve water shortages during dry spells.

MCWD spokesperson Charmaine Rodriguez-Kara said that as of Tuesday, April 23, the dam’s production was down to 9,000 cubic meters per day.

“So those who had water supply for three to five hours before, it may go lower to one to two hours,” she said.

In normal weather conditions, Jaclupan Dam produces 33,000 cubic meters of water per day.

“So if we have one cubic meter per day demand per household, we can only serve 9,000 households at present out of the 33,000 households,” Kara said.

Affected areas include elevated and interior portions of Talisay City, Bulacao, Inayawan, Cogon Pardo, Kinasang-an, Basak San Nicolas, Basak Pardo, Mambaling, N. Bacalso Ave., Sawang Calero, Suba, Pasil, San Nicolas proper, Pahina Central, Kalubihan, Sanciangko, Colon, Kamputhaw, Sto Niño, Pari-an, San Roque, Tinago, Kamagayan, Tejero, T. Padilla, Tisa, Punta Princesa, Labangon, Banawa, Salvador, Katipunan, Capitol Site, Oprra, Calamba, Sambag 1, Sambag 2 and Sta. Cruz.

Kara said they had expected Jaclupan Dam to supply water up to the last week of May or the first week of June, but as of Monday, April 22, the surface area of the facility’s infiltration basin had dried up.

The demand for water in MCWD’s franchise areas in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay and Lapu-Lapu and the towns of Consolacion, Liloan, Compostela and Cordova is 450,000 cubic meters daily. But MCWD can only supply 43 percent of the demand, or 238,000 cubic meters per day. This has prompted it to ration water in some parts in Talisay City and Cebu City.

Kara said they will have to use other sources to increase production.

“Last Wednesday, we also installed booster pumps in (the) Carreta area to bring water from the north to the uptown area in Cebu City,” she said.

With temperatures remaining high until the end of the month, the public has been advised to brace for the heat to intensify next month, with May considered the hottest month in Central Visayas.

According to Jhomer Eclarino, weather specialist of the weather bureau Pagasa in Mactan, the highest temperature recorded in Cebu so far this year was 34.6 degrees Celsius last Saturday, April 20.

The heat index, or “the measure indicating the level of discomfort the average person is thought to experience as a result of the combined effects of the temperature and humidity of the air,” was 42 degrees Celsius.

But the highest heat index recorded this month was 43 degrees Celsius at 2:37 p.m. last Thursday, April 18. The temperature was 34.4 degrees Celsius with 59 percent humidity.

“We are expecting the weather to remain the same in the next few days until Sunday since there is no weather disturbance that can bring in rain... Yes, until May, it’s possible it will be hotter because of the weak El Niño,” Eclarino told Superbalita Cebu in Cebuano.

In May last year, the highest recorded temperature in Cebu was 45 degrees Celsius. He expects it to be higher next month. He also expects the drought to worsen. (With FMD of SuperBalita Cebu, PJB)


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