ILOILO City mayor said he will continue to push for the approval of his request to the City Council declaring the city under state of imminent danger to mitigate the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

Mayor Jerry P. Treñas said he is also asking the council to release a portion of the city calamity fund for the immediate measures against the dry spell.

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Treñas said the city continues to reel on severe water shortage due to extreme heat. “I don’t want the city populace to blame me for suffering in accessing fresh water and say that I didn’t do anything to help them,” the mayor said.

The city mayor said the public should also urge the councilors to approve the said declaration and allow the use of a portion of the P60 million calamity funds from the city’s 2010 budget.

Treñas said the amount would be spent for the purchase of gasoline for trucks carrying water tanks to be delivered to the barangays and to buy chemicals for water treatment as well as spend for water supplies taken from private wells outside of the city.

But Treñas said he will have to go directly to the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC) and eventually to the National Disaster Coordinating Council for assistance in solving the potable water shortage in the city.

The RDCC organized the regional Task Force on El Niño last February 25. It is composed of several government and private agencies to enhance coordination of agencies in the formulation and implementation of measures to mitigate the effects of El Niño particularly on agriculture and water supply.

The task force reported that Western Visayas is gradually experiencing the slow onset of El Niño and is forecasted to reach its peak by March and April to affect agriculture and the availability of water, which may reach a critical level.

Treñas said the City Environment and Natural Resources office reported to him the critical level of potable water supply at the Maasin watershed and at the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) production plants in Maasin and Sta Barbara, Iloilo.

MIWD is currently rationing the supply of potable water to the different districts of the city during the midnight and early morning supply. But mostly, faucets do not give water during the day.

MIWD is serving the water needs of the city and municipalities of Maasin, Cabatuan, Sta Barbara, Pavia, Oton, San Miguel, Leganes and Zarraga. (Lydia C. Pendon)