IF plans push through, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) will adopt an automated operation system, which will allow the water district to detect problems in the field as they happen.

The automated system will cost P500 million to set up and will be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) through a grant.

Ernie Delco, MCWD assistant general manager for operations, said that in an automated operation, problems like low pressure, pipe leakage or theft of water meters and pipes will appear on their computer screens.

It will indicate the specific time and place where the problem is.

“With this system, before our customers can file a complaint on low pressure or if there is no water at all, MCWD has already discovered the problem because of this real-time data gathering,” Delco said.

MCWD officials have already signed the final minutes of the meeting, which they submitted to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

Neda is still reviewing the proposal, and will then submit it to the Government of Japan for final approval.

Delco said that their partners, the City Waste Water of Melbourne in Australia and the Singapore Public Utility Board, are already automated.

“This is what they call the SCADA or the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition.

This is already used in developed power and water utilities in the world,” Delco said.

At present, MCWD relies on reports of personnel and complaints from their clients for information on problems in the field.

With the automated system, the information is “automatic and rapid,” said Delco.

Because the equipment worth P500 million will be provided by Jica, MCWD’s expense is only P50,000, which represents taxes and duties it will pay to the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

When asked why the Government of Japan is offering the system to MCWD for free, Delco explained that Jica is promoting Japanese technology and they want MCWD to be a model or a benchmark for Asia.

“If the automation project will push through, we will have a working SCADA by 2015,” Delco added.