Deep well reopened to address water shortage

Deep well reopened to address water shortage
Photo by Earl Kim H. Padronia

TO ADDRESS the drought-induced water shortage, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) reopened a deep well at Guadalajara St., Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City, on Monday, April 29, 2024.

Plans are also underway to open two more wells in the same area.

The deep well, operated by MCWD’s bulk water supplier, Abejo Water Corp. (AWC), has undergone treatment to become an additional water source amid the MCWD’s declining water production.

The deep well was closed five years ago due to nitrate contamination, which was believed to come from nearby septic tanks.

In an interview after their inspection in Guadalupe on Monday, Daluz said that the two other deep wells they plan to reopen, located in Gabutan and Quijada compounds, are still undergoing treatment for nitrate contamination.

Daluz said once operational, these three deep wells combined will produce between 2,000-3,000 cubic meters of water per day, serving around 2,500-3,000 households in Barangay Guadalupe and neighboring areas.

He added that despite their relatively lower production capacity compared to other water suppliers, these deep wells will serve as an alternative water source for consumers during the drought.

Additional deep well

Moreover, MCWD general manager Edgar Donoso said they are working on opening a deep well in a private-owned lot in the town of Consolacion.

The water district has already coordinated with Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado to address issues concerning the road right of way, which barred the operation of the deep well.

Daluz then urged owners of private deep wells to allow the MCWD to extract water from their wells for distribution to other consumers within their service area.

MCWD serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay and Lapu-Lapu, and the towns of Consolacion, Liloan, Compostela and Cordova.

Declining production

Daluz said that as of April 29, their Lusaran facility produces 8,000 cubic meters of water daily, significantly below its usual output of 30,000 cubic meters per day.

The water production of Lusarn Hydro on April 26 was recorded at 11,000 cubic meters per day, further decreasing from 15,000 cubic meters per day on April 10.

Likewise, the Jaclupan wellfield in Talisay City is now producing only 7,000 cubic meters per day, from the reported 8,000 cubic meters per day on Friday, far from 14,193 cubic meters per day last April 10. Its usual production is 30,000 cubic meters a day.

Daluz added that MCWD’s other surface water sources have also experienced a decline in water production, with a shortage of over 50,000 cubic meters of water per day compared to the usual production of 301,000 cubic meters per day.

For the Buhisan Dam, Daluz said its current production is only 2,000 cubic meters per day, down from its usual capacity of 6,000 cubic meters daily. This water is distributed solely to consumers in Barangay Tisa, he added.

Daluz’s statement contradicts that of MCWD spokesperson Minerva Gerodias, who told SunStar Cebu last Friday that both the Buhisan Dam and the treatment facility in the town of Compostela had ceased water production.

Daluz said they are hoping that the desalination plants in Mambaling, Cebu City, Opao in Mandaue City, and Cordova will soon become operational to alleviate MCWD’s water production issues.

Desalination plants

Meanwhile, Donoso said the Opao Desalination Plant in Mandaue City will start operation within the week after completing equipment and component testing on Sunday, April 28.

It will initially produce 10,000 cubic meters of water per day, increasing to its full capacity of 25,000 cubic meters per day over time.

Daluz added that the Cordova desalination plant can already produce at least 5,000 cubic meters of water per day. However, it awaits for a “favorable” review of its contract with the private supplier by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel.

Desilting Buhisan Dam

Meanwhile, the Cebu City Council has requested the MCWD to expedite its desilting measures of the Buhisan Dam following the decrease in water production.

However, MCWD said desilting the Buhisan Dam, one of its water sources, poses challenges, primarily due to its location.

Reports said the request was made through a resolution sponsored by Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn Pesquera, which the council approved during its regular session on April 24.

MCWD, in a statement on Sunday, April 28, said there had been attempts to secure a contractor to conduct desilting at the Buhisan Dam, but no contractor was willing to undertake the job due to logistical challenges.

“Considering the narrow, steep, and winding road leading to the dam, it is impractical to transport dredging or desilting equipment to the area,” a portion of the water district’s statement reads.

Buhisan Dam is located in Barangay Buhisan, an upland barangay in Cebu City.

The water district said it opted to employ residents in the area and neighboring barangays to perform regular manual desilting.

Pesquera, in her resolution, said that the dam originally had a capacity of 10,000 cubic meters per day, but it reduced to 3,143 cubic meters per day due to siltation.

But MCWD claimed that the maximum production of the dam was only between 6,000 to 7,000 cubic meters per day, and not 10,000 cubic meters per day.

MCWD also attributed the reduced water production of the dam to the El Niño phenomenon which led to the drying up of the dam’s tributaries, and not due to silt.

Aside from El Niño, MCWD said the flow of the river and its tributaries, which replenish the Buhisan Dam, has significantly reduced due to climate change.

MCWD also clarified that its cash balance as of March 31 stood at P1.4 billion. This is after Pesquera stated in a separate resolution that MCWD’s cash balance is P100 million, which she said she got from a recent news. / EHP, JJL

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