Water crisis now almost a ‘calamity,’ Lao says

CAGAYAN de Oro City Councilor Teodulfo "Bong" Lao Jr. said he is contemplating sponsoring a resolution declaring a state of calamity in the city’s 1st district if the residents’ water problems continue to worsen.

Lao said he is still studying the matter but stressed he is willing to sponsor the resolution if need be.

"We are going to evaluate first the water crisis situation. For the meantime, we will conduct a random survey for the people in District 1," Lao said.

Lao said they will focus solely in 1st district as the city’s western portion is the most affected by the water crisis.

He added that on Saturday, November 18, he heard that some residents of the district were complaining after faucets again ran dry due to a supposed leak in one of the pipes at Rio Verde.

"Kung makita natin na marami nang nag-suffer at ilang araw hindi na pagdedeliveran ng tubig ang lugar, that's the time na mag-declare na under state of calamity ang area (If we see that several of the people are suffering and water supply is not being delivered to the area for how many days, that’s the time we will declare the area under state of calamity)," Lao said.

The city councilor said the reasons for evaluating whether the city will declare the western part of the city to be under the state of calamity are: if half of the population in the western part of the city are affected by the lack of water supply, and if the people in the area become ill because of the lack of water availability.

Lao said after the results of the survey will be submitted to the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (CDRRMC) for evaluation. If the CDRRMC sees the problem in water supply as a worse situation under the said reasons, they will recommend that the western part of the city to be under the state of calamity to the City Council.

Lao said this will make the City Government act to find an immediate solution to the problem of water supply.

Meanwhile, a new player told the City Council they can supply treated bulk water to the COWD at half the proposed rate of MetroPac Water Investments Corporation (MetroPac).

Lao said the Cagayan de Oro Water Technologies Development Corporation (CWTDC) told the council that the firm can supply COWD some 150,000 cubic meter of treated bulk water per day.

"It is much more than the immediately volume of water the water district needed," Lao said.

The COWD had said it needed 80,000 to 100,000 cubic meter (cu. m.) of water per day.

The CWTDC told the council they can supply bulk water at P8 per cubic meter.

Lao said CWTDC representatives told them they will source their water sources are from underground and surface waters in the city.

The councilor said the new water supplier will be getting their underground water source from Macasandig, Cugman, Agusan, Balulang, and among others, through digging a deep well, while their surface water source will be from the Cagayan River.

Lao said the CWTDC assured them of the safety and potable water as CWTDC will be using technologies and equipment purchased outside the country to dig deep wells and develop the surface water.

The CWTDC, Lao said, is a newly formed corporation whose workers are said to be experts in water supply and who came from water utilities around the country.

But even with the emergence of a potential water supplier, Lao said the COWD will not be open to new suppliers until after its nullification case against Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc. is resolved by the court.
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