Jonas, hoteliers call out MCWD on water shortage

WATER supply is increasingly becoming a major concern in the hospitality sector, as fears of a shortage in Cebu mount.

Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Association of Cebu (Hrrac) president Carlo Suarez said their sector is “very reliant” on water for daily operations.

He urged the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) to improve its services, saying they’ve been getting slow water pressure from the distributor.

Sought for comment, Grand Benedicto, president of Enrison Holdings, owner of Be Resort Mactan, said they have their own desalination plant to augment the resort’s water needs.

On Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, MCWD issued a water storage advisory to its customers in Lapu-Lapu City—home to Cebu’s upscale and tourist-draw resorts—and Cordova town, saying a private bulk supplier’s plant in Suba-Basbas, Lapu-Lapu stopped supplying 3,500 cubic meters (cu. m.) per day starting September after encountering operational problems.

“We have always known that water is an issue in Cebu and Mactan,” Benedicto told SunStar Cebu on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

“To address this, we had our own desalination plant at BE Resort Mactan to cover our property requirements.”

“We are also collecting rainwater and upgrading our STP (sewage treatment plant) to reuse water for irrigation purposes,” the businessman said.

According to Suarez, hotels and resorts are among the businesses that depend heavily on water for their operations.

“This is a major concern for us in the hotel sector because we are very reliant on water,” the hotelier said in a separate interview.

He pointed out that ensuring a stable water supply in Cebu should be given utmost priority by the government, given that a lot of industries depend on it.

In Mandaue City, Mayor Jonas Cortes expressed his dismay over MCWD’s failure to meet the City Government’s and the residents’ water needs.

Water supply in City Hall, the new public market and the public school is scarce, he lamented.

Cortes earlier said he would tap other suppliers such as the Pilipinas Water Resources Inc. (PWRI) since MCWD could not meet the water demand in the city.

“We really don’t have a choice right now. Personally, I’m very disappointed with MCWD. City Hall, the public market and the sports complex have no water supply. That’s why if MCWD cannot deliver, we have to look for other sources,” Cortes said.

PWRI’s Rufino Bolivar said their firm can supply up to 50 cubic meters of water to the public market alone. The market’s daily demand is 20 to 24 cubic meters.

In a separate interview, MCWD spokesperson Charmaine Rodriguez-Kara asked for the understanding of the public.

She admitted that there is a shortage of water supply due to saltwater intrusion.

“We deeply apologize to our customers in Mandaue and to the local officials for the water supply shortage being experienced by our customers. In the meantime, we will collate all the complaints and focus on the areas that are experiencing fewer service hours,” said Kara.

MCWD has conducted water rationing and has advised the public to conserve and store water.

To mitigate the negative impact of any shortage, hotels usually maintain water tanks in their facilities in case of emergencies.

“We just want the MCWD to work on this (stable supply),” the Cebu Grand Hotel general manager said.

MCWD cited saltwater intrusion and the drying up of some its wells as key reasons for a possible water shortage in Cordova and Lapu-Lapu.

Affected consumers include those in Babag, Marigondon, Maribago, Mactan, Punta Engaño in Lapu-Lapu City and the entire Municipality of Cordova.

Consumers in these areas are experiencing fewer service hours and very unstable water supply.

MCWD is encouraging affected consumers to store water during the off-peak hours or from midnight to 5 a.m. when the demand is low.

The water distributor said the water storage advisory will continue until a new supplier can provide the 3,500 cu. m. that was lost from the system. CSL, ANV OF SUPERBALITA CEBU / LRC


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