Mayor Rama declares water crisis

Cebu City Mayor Michael “Mike” Rama.
Cebu City Mayor Michael “Mike” Rama. (File photo)

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama has declared a state of water crisis in the city due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

“I will now declare a crisis on water. I declare a crisis now. Convene dayon ta (We will convene immediately),” Rama said in a press conference on Monday, April 1, 2024.

He instructed City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Harold Alcontin to call an emergency meeting with his appointed Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) board of directors led by chairman Melquiades Feliciano, former environment secretary and Task Force Gubat sa Baha chairman Roy Cimatu and city councilors to address the dwindling water supply due to the impacts of El Niño.

Rama also invited all concerned departments and agencies of the City Government, excluding the removed MCWD board members led by Jose Daluz III.

He urged council members to be involved in answering the concerns and impact of the weather phenomenon after they placed 28 mountain barangays under a state of calamity through an approved resolution.

Meanwhile, the mayor said they have been preparing for the El Niño since March 2023.

Assurance

During the press conference, Rama assured there are enough sources of water, but the City needs to come up with practical approaches with regard to piping, impounding and building gabion dams.

In a phone interview on Monday, Daluz said the water district has provided mobile siphon tanks in Cebu City, particularly in mountain barangays, including Bonbon, Sinsin and Cambinocot.

Daluz said the siphon tanks are capable of discharging 10,000 cubic meters of potable water per hour to the community.

Daluz said they have conducted meetings in mountain barangays, informing the community about the installation of the tanks, where residents can get water starting Wednesday, April 3.

He said MCWD provided the equipment and the operators, while the City Government provided the gas and security for the equipment.

He said they tried to rent water tankers, but no one was willing to go to the mountain barangays due to the weight of the water.

He said they will deploy water tankers in the lowlands, while siphon tanks will provide water in the uplands.

Desalination

As the water crisis continues, Dauz hopes that MCWD’s water desalination projects will become operational as soon as possible.

MCWD has desalination projects in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue and in the town of Cordova.

Daluz said the Cebu City Government has yet to provide the water district with permits for pipe laying and excavations. / AML

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