AN expert warned the Cebu City Council yesterday the groundwater situation in the city is already “more than critical.”

This, following the application of a private water supplier, Neptune Water Supply, to increase the volume of its groundwater extraction in Sitio Lusimba, Barangay Pardo.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

Fr. Herman van Engelen, founding director of the University of San Carlos-Water Resource Center (USC-WRC), said water suppliers are extracting more than what nature supplies.

“Cebu is depending on groundwater only. However, the groundwater situation now is not only critical, it’s more than critical because we are extracting all together. We are extracting more water than nature supplies,” said Engelen.

Ernie Delco, assistant general manager of Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD), said they are operating 115 water wells which extract groundwater. At least 10 of them are located in Cebu City.

Speaking before the City Council yesterday, Engelen said if the body approves the application of Neptune Water Supply, it should take into consideration the health of its population.

“Because I am concerned about the quality of water that will be extracted,” he said.

Engelen said Neptune Water Supply plans to directly inject or extract water from the distribution system which he strongly opposes, citing health hazards.

“We have a serious objection to this particular approach because water may not be correctly treated before it is distributed and consumed,” he said.

Delco said MCWD may only agree and approve the application of Neptune Water Supply if it meets their conditions. MCWD is a deputized agency of the National Water Resource Board in regulating groundwater extraction in Cebu.

Delco said Neptune Water Supply should submit data of its previous extraction record, its regular pumping water level measurement, salinity examination and a periodical and chemical analysis.

Delco said the water supplier should also agree to a spot monitoring of its well, refrain from indiscriminately increasing its volume of extraction, and it should not interfere with MCWD’s existing service area or customers.

Delco also said once MCWD has already adequate water supply and can supply 24/7 to Cebu in the future, Neptune Water Supply should agree to turnover its water well to the water district.

Lastly, Neptune Water Supply should enter into a memorandum of agreement with MCWD, stating that if MCWD has already adequate supply in Sitio Lusimba, Barangay Pardo, the water district will be allowed to supply water to the area.