CAGAYAN de Oro Mayor Constantino Jaraula announced Thursday City Hall will embark on creating “mini water districts” in areas where water remains scarce.

First of such water projects would be established at Barangay Indahag, where an 800 cubic-meter capacity reservoir is now under construction.

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The mayor’s plan effectively scrapped the water project City Hall has proposed with Cagayan de Oro Water District (Cowd) and a water supplier at Indahag. At a cost of P3.86 million, the circular ground reservoir was originally intended for that undertaking.

Jaraula said City Hall was going it alone because “the City Government can’t wait for the quarrel between the board of directors of Cowd and its union to be over.”

“The people of Indahag and its neighboring barangays are dying to be provided with potable water. They can no longer wait,” he told reporters in a press conference inside his office.

Instead of Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc. (RVWCI), the Cowd supplier, Jaraula said water supply would come Mapawa, formerly a farm and now a nature park owned by the Pelaez family.

City Hall has already secured the commitment of the Pelaez family to provide water from their property, which has its own falls and is located in hill in Barangay Cugman.

Because the Indahag reservoir is perched over 300 meters above sea level, the mayor said water can easily be distributed to low-lying villages such as Camaman-an, Upper Gusa and even suburban Lapasan.

“Then we will have barangay officials to manage these little water districts. This means more income for the barangay,” Jaraula said.

The mayor gave no specific allocation for the project, but said the funds would come from the five percent calamity fund of the City Government.

It remains unclear, however, whether the unspecified budget includes the cost of installing pipelines which will deliver the water to consumers.

Cowd officials had earlier estimated the cost of pipe-laying at P200 million for the now abandoned Indahag water project. The high cost was one of the major reasons why the the First Labor Organization of Cowd (Flow) opposed it.

While its Board of Directors supported the tripartite undertaking, Flow and Cowd manager said it would bleed the water district further, as it is currently saddled by almost a billion peso loan.

Flow and the Board are also at loggerheads on the 2004 bulk water supply project, which state auditors said was riddled with fraud and other irregularities. The employee union demands the contract be voided, as the Commission on Audit recommended; the Board merely wants it modified. (Nicole J. Managbanag)