MCWD, City Government to blame for water crisis

SAFE TO DRINK. MCWD spokesperson Charmaine Kara drinks water from MCWD’s tap during an executive session called by the Cebu City Council to address the water problem. (SunStar Photo/Alex Badayos)

THE Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) and the Cebu City Government are to blame for Cebu City’s water shortage during dry spells.

According to Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera, they have failed to establish infrastructures that store rain during the wet season.

“Eighty percent of rainwater is flushed out to the sea. Where are the infrastructures that capture the rain because this is for free? Just imagine, we allow freshwater to drain into the sea, and then we will spend a lot to process seawater to make it potable,” Garganera said in Cebuano.

During the executive session of the City Council last Tuesday, April 30, MCWD announced it would build a desalination plant in Lapu-Lapu City and start the construction of the Mananga Dam to add to Metro Cebu’s existing water supply sources.

MCWD general manager Jose Eugenio Singson Jr. said the two projects will supply an additional 200,000 cubic meters of water every day.

Right now, MCWD can only supply 195,000 cubic meters of water per day compared to the 238,000 cubic meters before the onset of the El Niño.

Councilor Jerry Guardo said MCWD should check out Barangays Budlaan and Mabini in case both places have water sources MCWD can use.

Councilor Joy Pesquera also suggested the MCWD set up catchment areas to store rainwater.

Meanwhile, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella and Councilors Margot Osmeña, Franklyn Ong and Garganera urged MCWD to convince its consumers to drink tap water instead of buying bottled water. Not only is MCWD water safe to drink, it’s the real mineral water, they said.

Singson said the desalination plant in Lapu-Lapu City can supply 100,000 cubic meters of water daily, which is more than the 80,000 cubic meters of water the city needs.

Right now, MCWD supplies 30,000 cubic meters of water daily to Lapu-Lapu City. The water comes from the town of Carmen.

Singson said that if they dig a deep well in Lapu-Lapu City, they will find salty water because of saltwater intrusion in Mactan Island’s aquifers.

He said three firms are interested in building a desalination plant in the city through MCWD under a Public-Private Partnership.

If the project is awarded this year, construction of the plant will take three years. By 2022, Mactan residents won’t have to suffer from a water shortage, he said.

Singson said the plant will convert saltwater off Punta Engaño because it is clean.

After this month’s midterm election, MCWD will also bid out the P6.5-billion Mananga Dam that will supply 100,000 cubic meters of water daily.

Once both projects are completed, MCWD will be able to serve 80 percent of water demand in its franchise areas, up from 40 percent.

Singson said they also plan to set up a desalination plant in Tayud, Consolacion and Lagtang, Talisay City that will supply 50,000 cubic meters of water daily.

They’re also studying how the Lusaran Dam can supply extra water, he said.

MCWD spokesperson Charmaine Kara admitted that the 16,000 cubic meters of water they have been getting daily from Danao City and three wells are not enough to make up for the 40,000 cubic meters of water they have lost since the dry spell started but the additional supply can still help consumers through the dry spell.

The lack of supply of water has resulted in water rationing in areas where water pressure is low or where there is no running water at all.

Kara said the drying up of the Buhisan Dam and MCWD’s weir in Jaclupan, Talisay City and the reduced flow of underground water have affected their operations.

The council called the executive session so the MCWD could shed light on the city’s water situation and they could discuss long-term solutions to the water shortage problem. (from PAC of SuperBalita Cebu/PJB)


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