2 desalination plants MCWD’s ‘last resort’

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AS MORE barangays in Metro Cebu experience a water crisis due to the ongoing dry spell, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) wants two desalination plants to start delivering water before July 2024.

In a phone interview on Saturday, April 13, John Dx Lapid, acting general manager of MCWD, told SunStar Cebu that the desalination plant projects in Barangay Opao, Mandaue City and Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City were slated to alleviate the water shortage brought about by the El Niño phenomenon.

However, the projects’ completion dates were delayed due to various reasons, including delays in the permits and civil works.

“Nag-expect ta mi nga late December (2023) kay moagas na, pero wala man naapas daghan kaayo og factors nga nahitabo (We were expecting the desalination plants to be operational by December (2023), but this did not push through due to a lot of factors),” Lapid said. “Hopefully, but no promises yet, nga maka-agas unta (the plants will be operational) as early as possible.”

Lapid said the MCWD’s water sources have struggled to deliver water due to the drought.

“Ang dating supply sa north kaning atong sa Compostela supply kay wala na gyud naghatag nato (Our supplier in Compostela in the north has stopped providing us with water). That’s why nagproblema gyud ning (we are having problems in) certain barangay sa (in) Mandaue City. And if you go south, ang Buhisan ug Jaclupan Dam kay ni drop napud maayo ang supply nila sa tubig (the water level in the Buhisan and Jaclupan Dam has dropped considerably). So maong apektado ning (this has affected the) southern portion sa (of) Cebu City,” he said.

He urged consumers and the general public to conserve water amid the water crisis.

He said the MCWD no longer has enough water supply to serve its franchise due to several factors, such as the saltwater intrusion of groundwater or aquifers.

“We abused our groundwater so much because we don’t have control over extracting too much groundwater. Kanang saltwater intrusion kay dili na na siya mabalik (Saltwater intrusion is irreversible) and it will be forever like that,” Lapid said.

He said deep wells are supposed to help alleviate the effects of a dry spell. However, many of them cannot be used due to saltwater contamination and their water is no longer safe to drink, he added.

Lapid said the MCWD has implemented water rationing in some areas, and has deployed water tanks to affected barangays, mostly. / EHP


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