CEBU CITY - The Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) urged all households on Monday to save water to lessen the impact when El Niño will hit Central Visayas by the end of this month.

Engineer Lazaro Salvacion, MCWD environment department manager and assistant general manager for operations, said the phenomenon will affect surface water sources like the Buhisan Dam in Cebu City and Jaclupan Dam in Talisay City.

MCWD produces 204,000 cubic meters of water daily for its 160,000 water accounts. Of that supply, 164,00 cubic meters come from groundwater sources or an equivalent of 80 percent, while 40,000 cubic meters come from surface water sources.

“Unlike groundwater sources, which are less affected by El Niño, Buhisan Dam and Jaclupan Dam are rain-fed and may run dry during the phenomenon,” Salvacion said.

Salvacion said that if the surface water sources dry up, the water district can replenish up to 32,020 cu.m. a day. Of that amount, 11,500 cu.m. will come from Abejo Waters Corp. of the family of Gabino Abejo Jr.; 2,500 cu.m. from the wells in Guadalupe and Jakosalem in Cebu City and Pajac in Lapu-Lapu City; and 18,000 cu.m. from the Carmen Bulk Water Project, a joint venture of Manila Water Corp. of the Ayala Group and the Cebu Provincial Capitol.

Salvacion said there is an expected net water supply reduction of 7,980 cubic meters, which may affect about 8,000 households in elevated areas.

MCWD released its “store water advisory” to affected areas, which will be supplied water rations by tankers.

These are the areas served by Casili reservoir, such as Punta Engaño in Lapu-Lapu City and Barangays Opao, Looc and Umapad in Mandaue City. Areas served by the Talamban reservoir such as Oprra Units 1, 2 and 3 in Cebu City will be affected.

Tankers may also have to be sent to areas served by Tisa reservoir such as Horseshoe Hills and Good Shepherd in Banawa and Sun Valley in Barangay Calamba, all in Cebu City. The same goes for areas served by Lagtang reservoir, such as M. J. Cuenco Ave. and Barangay Mabolo in Cebu City.

Salvacion appealed to consumers to conserve water.

One way is to recycle the water used for laundry to flush toilets, Salvacion said. The other ways are to limit one’s shower to four minutes; stop the practice of running water while washing the dishes; using a broom instead of water in cleaning the garage or porch; and taking out of the freezer any frozen meat hours before cooking so it can thaw naturally, instead of soaking it in water.

“If a consumer will just follow this advice, he can save four percent of the water consumption equivalent to 6.4 liters per day,” Salvacion said.

Engineer Eugenio Singson, MCWD officer-in-charge, said the water district will coordinate with local government units (LGUs) to control the operations of car wash companies.

“We understand that a car wash is a business, but not at the expense of the water consumers and the public,” Singson said.

Engineer Edgar Ortega, MCWD distribution division manager, said there is no limit for the Bureau of Fire Department (BFP) to use water from fire hydrants during firefighting.

However, Ortega urged firefighters to refrain from getting water from the hydrant for any other purpose.

Ortega said that MCWD has 1,500 kilometers of pipelines within its franchise area that will need to be controlled and watched closely during El Niño.

“We have to control the water connections, otherwise, the water that is intended for the north may go to the south,” Ortega said. (EOB)