LOCAL Waterworks Utilities Administration (LWUA) will takeover the supervision and operation of Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) by August 18 should the management and board failed to supply enough water to Iloilo City concessionaires.

LWUA chairman Prospero Pichay gave the ultimatum to shape up or ship out following the long running controversial conflict between the management and the board that resulted in very poor water service to more than 20,000 concessionaires.

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Pichay, who was in Iloilo City Wednesday together with LWUA Administrator Daniel Landingin, said there exists a prevailing ground for an imminent takeover of the water district, and the LWUA, as a regulatory body, can institute the takeover immediately.

Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said the LWUA has the powers to takeover the water district as provided by Presidential Decree 198. The LWUA must also present short-term solutions to the water problem.

Regarding the appointment of MIWD director Dr. Danilo Encarnacion, Mabilog said the board director was not able to meet the requirements imposed by the water utility.

Appointments of two more members of the board are set to expire by December 2010 and applications are open for the professional women sectors by October this year.

Pichay admitted that the present board and management of MIWD can not immediately resolve their conflict by the deadline following the many issues affecting them.

Other grounds for the takeover include the problematic sourcing of water and the high cost of non-revenue water, Pichay said.

"Iloilo City is a fast growing area in the Visayas with an urgent need of sustainable water supply. The business sector is eyeing the city as a business hub but with a prevailing conflict between the water district's management and board of directors, the city cannot move on," Pichay said.

The water utilities chairman said an interim board of directors who are mostly based in Metro Manila can act as the local board for a period of at least six months while the present board are set aside in its policy making function.

With a new water district board working closely and cooperating with the management, Pichay said Iloilo can have enough and sustainable water supply in two years. (Lydia C. Pendon)