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Mambaling plant to supply water by March

THE Metropolitan Cebu Water District announced Wednesday that the Mambaling Desalination Project can start delivering an initial supply of 10 million liters per day (MLD) of water in March.

In an interview on “Beyond the Headlines,” SunStar Cebu’s online news and commentary program, on Jan. 31, 2024, MCWD chairman Jose Daluz III said the desalination plant in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City was supposed to start operations last September.

Daluz said the setback was caused by the delayed civil works and pipe-laying activities on F. Vestil St., where the installation of new pipes can carry the pressure of 25 MLD of water that the Mambaling Desalination Project can supply to MCWD.

MCWD requested a permit from the Cebu City Government in April 2023, but Daluz said City Hall only recently gave the go signal to proceed with the pipe-laying activities for the project.

Portions of the pipes on F. Vestil St. have already been installed and covered.

The new supply will benefit the residents of Barangays Mambaling, Basak, Tagunol, Pasil and Ermita.

“By March, they can give the 10,000 cubic meters (10 MLD) and by December of this year or early next year, another 10,000 until the completion of the 25,000 (cubic meters of water) per day,” Daluz said.

He explained that one cubic meter of water is equal to 1,000 liters of water.

The Mambaling Desalination Project is among the signed contracts that the MCWD has implemented since the appointment of Daluz as chairman in 2021.

These are the ongoing 15-year Lusaran Bulk Water Supply; the 25-year Opao Desalination Project; the 25-year Mambaling Desalination Project; the five-year Basak Water Supply; and the 25-year Jaclupan Bulk Water Supply which can provide an average of 115,000 cubic meters of water per day.

On the other hand, the civil works and pipe-laying activities for the 25-year Opao Desalination Project in Mandaue City will start soon, Daluz said.

The project was supposed to start last year but was also delayed due to the lack of documentary requirements from the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) as the new pipes will be installed in the national highway.

Daluz said MCWD and the local government unit (LGU) of Mandaue City, through Mayor Jonas Cortes, have agreed that all excavation and pipe-laying work will take place at night so as not to disrupt the traffic at daytime.

The contract for the desalination project in Barangay Opao, Mandaue City was signed in December 2022 between the MCWD and the Pilipinas Water Resources Inc. (PWRI) and 8990 Housing Development Corp. Joint Venture for the delivery of 25,000 cubic meters per day of water to the water district.

The supplier is to start delivering 10,000 cubic meters of desalinated water per day in the first year of operation and 25,000 cubic meters per day for the remaining 24 years of the contract.

Cordova plant

In the case of the ongoing development of the desalination plant in Barangay Catarman in Cordova, Daluz said MCWD is still in the process of complying with the documentary requirements set by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) that has issued an opinion against the project.

The desalination project in Barangay Catarman, Cordova is among the three MCWD desalinated bulk water supply projects on Mactan Island whose draft joint venture agreements (JVAs) the OGCC rejected due to “deficiencies” that constitute a violation of Republic Act 3019, or the “Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.”

“Ready to supply na ang atong Cordova. Naapiki lang sa opinion sa OGCC. Tulo na ni ka tuig nga opinion nga sige na lang ta og motion for recon (reconsideration). Unya naa sila’y suggestion, nagsige mi og submit just to comply. So hagbay ra unta ni mo-agas. We just have to comply with the procedures sa balaud,” Daluz said.

(Cordova was already ready to supply water but was held up by the opinion of the OGCC. We have been constantly filing motions for reconsideration for three years on this opinion. Whenever they have suggestions, we keep submitting their requirements just to comply. The water supply would have been available long ago. We just have to comply with the procedures under the law,” Daluz said.

The two other projects the OGCC rejected were the ones in Canjulao and Marigondon on Mactan Island that were projected to start in 2025 and 2026, respectively.

MCWD started in October 2023 pipe-laying activities from Barangay Basak to Barangay Marigondon in Lapu-Lapu City. The project will support two desalination plant projects in the area that are expected to produce a total of 45,000 cubic meters of water per day.

Daluz said once these desalination plants are operational, there will be a continuous supply of water due to an abundant supply of brackish water coming from the sea. The brackish water can be converted into potable water that is safe for consumption.

He added that reliance on surface water as a source was no longer reliable due to limitations of the surface water in terms of continuous supply, and weather phenomena. The desalinated water will narrow the gap between the supply and demand for potable water in Metro Cebu.

Carmen water

On Tuesday, MCWD announced that it had embarked on a deal with Manila Water Philippine Ventures (MWPV) to supply 30,000 cubic meters (not 30,000 liters as earlier reported) of water per day to MCWD.

The deal is for 10 years at a price of P58 per cubic meter for the first five years, with an increase of 10 to 12 percent of this rate for the succeeding five years.

Daluz said the contract was signed on Tuesday night, just as the two-month interim agreement between MCWD and the Cebu Provincial Government to supply water from Carmen town was to end on Jan. 31.

The new contract with MWPV enables MCWD to secure part of the water supply it lost after Cebu Manila Water Development Inc. (CMWDI), the joint investment firm of Manila Water Consortium Inc. and the Province of Cebu, terminated its deal to supply 35,000 cubic meters of water per day to MCWD, effective Dec. 1, 2023.

The termination came amid CMWDI’s dissatisfaction over the water’s selling price to MCWD being fixed at P24.59 per cubic meter until 2035.

Without the new contract with MWPV, Daluz said its consumers in the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue, and in the towns of Consolacion, Liloan, Compostela, would have experienced low pressure to no water supply by Feb. 1.

MCWD provides water services to the cities of Cebu, Talisay, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, and the towns of Cordova, Consolacion, Liloan and Compostela.

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