IT’S high time for the local government units (LGUs) of Mandaue and Cebu to collaborate to address the flooding that affects portions of both cities during downpours.
Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, in a press briefing on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, said they could no longer wait for the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) to take the initiative to build mini dams on the Butuanon River.
“It’s long overdue nga angay na gyud nato pagabuhaton (and it should be done), with the plan katung paghatag og solusyon sa tubig (to provide a solution to the water problem). This will be a big boost for Metro Cebu kay (sa) magpaabot pa ta sa MCWD nga part man unta ni sa ilahang mandate (instead of waiting for MCWD to do something about it even though it’s their mandate),” Cortes said.
As a result of the roundtable discussion to find solutions to the flooding in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue on Monday, Sept. 18, construction of mini dams and detention ponds on sections of the Butuanon River and the planting of bamboo trees along the edge of the water to prevent soil erosion were considered.
MCWD spokesperson Minerva Gerodia told SunStar Cebu on Friday, Sept. 22, that the utility firm acknowledged the mayor’s concerns and would study the proposal to build mini dams.
She said the MCWD’s plan is to build a facility inside its property at the D’ Family Park in Barangay Talamban, Cebu City that will not only act as a source of water but also serve as a catch basin during heavy rains.
However, she said the MCWD is still studying the project’s viability and feasibility.
She said the impounding facility in Talamban is a big-ticket project, and was first proposed four years ago with a construction price of 150 million.
“As of now, ang among board kay ni order na siya nga i-fast-track ang project kay (the board has ordered to fast-track the project because) this is hitting two birds with one stone kay naa tay (because aside from having additional water) supply, naa sad tay (there’s also the) flood-control (aspect),” Gerodias said.
She said the proposed facility will prevent water cascading down from the mountain barangays of Cebu City during downpours to overspill and flood the cities of Cebu and Mandaue.
The support of both LGUs will also play a crucial role in the realization of the project as it requires a huge amount of capital investment, she said.
Gerodias pointed out that the MCWD does not have enough funds to finance the project.
On Thursday, Cortes stressed the importance of building mini dams on the Butuanon River not only to serve as a source of water but also to minimize the chances of the river overflowing during downpours thereby inundating the city proper before emptying into the Mactan Channel.
“That’s long overdue. Cebuanos have kept on complaining on the lack of water, unfortunately we have a lot of opportunities og manguha og tubig diha sa atung bukid (but) wala ta’y gibuhat nga (to source our water from the mountain but so we haven’t done any) measures,” Cortes said. “By building (mini) dams, (or) gabion dams, it is like hitting two birds with one stone. It will control the flood water nga dili lang modiretso og baha diri sa Mandaue kay atung mapugngan og hinay-hinay kay naay gabion dams or mini dams gyud (so it won’t flood Mandaue because the mini dams will slow the flow of water). Unya magamit ang tubig (Plus we can use the water) and at the same time it will replenish our aquifers.”
The official said the watershed or the source of the 23-kilometer Butuanon River is in a mountain barangay in Cebu City, which is beyond the control of the Mandaue City Government, which is why the two neighboring LGUs should strengthen their cooperation.
Cortes signed on Wednesday, Sept. 22, a memorandum of agreement between Mandaue and the Cebu City Government to rehabilitate the Butuanon River and the Mahiga Creek, which run through the adjacent cities, by declogging or desilting both waterways.
Meanwhile, the mayor said the construction of mini dams will also address the problem of saltwater intrusion that affects Metro Cebu’s underground water sources.
He said the over-extraction of groundwater resources without any measures to counter its effect is the main factor behind saltwater intrusion.
He said desilting can also provide economic opportunities to his constituents as the removed soil can be used for other purposes.
“Daku kaayo og tabang, potential nga atu lang gi-usikan. Primary nga na-usik nato kay ang tubig ang grasya nga gikan sa taas, imbes magamit nato ig-uwan kay diretso didto sa Mactan Channel,” Cortes said.
(It’s a lot of help and potential that we are wasting. Primary is the water from the sky that we are wasting, instead of taking advantage of rainwater it flows directly out into the Mactan Channel.)