Cowd inks deal with Dutch firm to boost resiliency

THE Cagayan de Oro City Water District (Cowd) has inked a deal with a Dutch water operator to boost the resiliency of the water facility especially during disasters.

Vitens Evides International (VEI), an international venture of six Dutch water companies active in 22 countries, has inked a partnership with Cowd for the Sustainable Water Supply in the Cagayan de Oro River Basin Project in November last year.

Cowd assistant general manager Engineer Bienvenido Batar Jr. said the water utility will work with VEI on the Improved Resilience of Water Supply Infrastructure and Improved Water and Hygiene in Flood Resettlement Areas projects.

Batar said the new project is their long-term solution to water interruptions that are usually caused by flooding of the production wells located in Barangay Macasandig.

In the past incidence of flooding, Batar said the shutdown of the Macasandig booster station had caused water interruptions in mostly the central parts of Cagayan de Oro, as well in Barangays Puntod, Macabalan, entire Lapasan, and the elevated portion of Barangay Gusa.

During the Tropical Storm Vinta last year for instance, it took the Cowd about eight days for the total recovery of the booster station.

"Although half of our equipment in Macasandig are resilient to flooding, it will take time for it to be fully operational because we would have to disinfect it to prevent water contamination," he said.

Transferring the booster station from Macasandig to another flood-free area is also not a choice, he said, pointing out that moving it would also mean the transfer of the big pipelines underground.

This is when VEI came into the picture, which will work with Cowd for a span of five years, from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2022. The project is funded by the Sustainable Water Fund (FDW) and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Batar said a resiliency expert from the VEI arrived last Monday and will stay in Cagayan de Oro for months to conduct meetings and study the present situation of the Cowd's equipment with the Cowd engineers.

"This month is the inception stage of the project, then on June or July, the resiliency expert will give us a report, so we can start the project full-blast on June or July this year," he said.

In its website, the VEI said it helps water companies in developing and transition countries to expand their capability and to professionalize their operations. VEI is a cooperation between the two largest water companies of the Netherlands: Vitens and Evides Waterbedrijf.

VEI has also an ongoing project in Cebu and Negros Oriental in an aim to get access to clean and potable water in the said areas.
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