MCWD 25,000 cubic meters ‘short’ daily

MCWD building.
MCWD building.Google Street View

THE WATER supply of Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) has decreased due to the ongoing dry spell caused by the strong El Niño phenomenon.

Tommy Gonzalez of the production department of MCWD said on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, that they have observed that the supply has been depleting since the last quarter of last year.

MCWD is a primary water utility company, which serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay and Lapu-Lapu and the towns of Consolacion, Liloan, Compostela, and Cordova.

He said they used to produce 301,000 cubic meters of water daily, but now they can only produce around 276,000 cubic meters per day.

“We have consumers from the coverage area who are already complaining that their supposed 24-hour availability of water is now intermittent,” he said.

He said the water needs of the entire Metro Cebu amount to 600,000 cubic meters per day, and they only provide 52 percent, or approximately 312,000 cubic meters.


He clarified that MCWD does not serve everyone in the metro. Non-customers should not address their complaints to the water district, he said.

Metro Cebu is made up of the cities of Carcar, Cebu, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Naga and Talisay, and the towns of Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, Liloan, Minglanilla and San Fernando.

Gonzalez said MCWD currently acquires water from three distinct sources: desalinated seawater (10 percent), groundwater obtained from wells (50 percent), and surface water (40 percent), which encompasses both bulk water and sources owned by MCWD.

He said the ongoing dry spell disproportionately affects the supply from surface water sources, which are directly exposed to the atmosphere and are therefore “more susceptible to the extensive heat.”

Among its surface water sources are the Jaclupan wellfield in Talisay City, which normally produces 30,000 cubic meters, and the Buhisan Dam in Cebu City, which normally produces 5,000 cubic meters.

However, he did not provide their current water output.

Gonzalez said seawater can be a great source of supply since “seawater is limitless,” but he said it is expensive.

However, he said they are currently capitalizing on establishing more desalination projects.

On Dec. 28, 2022, MCWD signed a 25-year contract worth P20.7 billion for a joint venture with Pilipinas Water Resources Inc. and 8990 Housing Development Corp. to provide desalinated water.

According to the contract, 10,000 cubic meters of water would be delivered daily in the first year, with the delivery increasing to 25,000 cubic meters per day for the remaining 24 years of the agreement.

SunStar Cebu tried to contact Gonzalez for any updates on the water district’s water supply output, but he did not respond as of press time.

Dry spell

Meanwhile, Chief Alfredo “Al” Quiblat Jr. of the weather bureau Pagasa Visayas announced that Cebu is officially under a dry spell.

A dry spell refers to three consecutive months of below-normal rainfall, or a drop of 21 percent to 60 percent, or two consecutive months of way below-normal rainfall, or a drop of more than 60 percent.

According to records of the Cebu City Agriculture Department, 506 farmers out of the 10,719 registered farmers in the city’s 28 mountain barangays are already reeling from the effects of El Niño, with the extreme weather condition affecting 115 hectares of farmland.

They suffer from lack of water which has damaged or destroyed some of their crops, said City Agriculturist Joelito Baclayon.

“Nagproblema na sila, wala nitubo ilang mga tanom kay nagkulang na gyud and tubig. Ato silang gikuanan, gitagaan ug response dayon ug ato dayong gikuha ang posibile pud na may mga damages,” he said.

(Some of their crops did not grow due to lack of water. We’ve already responded and collated the possible damage they have incurred.)

The City Government has moved to implement mitigating measures to alleviate the plight of the affected farmers, which include a comprehensive barangay-to-barangay campaign and awareness caravan, rallying local communities and associations to identify and address pressing issues related to farming amid the El Niño.

Baclayon said they have allocated P97 million in assistance but only for those who have suffered because of the El Niño.

He said insured farmers can also file insurance claims.

He said the City will also implement essential infrastructure projects like building mini-irrigations, and deploy power pumps, drums, hoses, as well as construct greenhouses to bolster agricultural resilience.

Baclayon also highlighted the formation of three organizations that comprise approximately 97 mini-associations to streamline the distribution of resources and support across the 28 affected mountain barangays.

“Importante kaayo na gi-organize namo sila kay they are the ones who would tell us asa gyud dapita within sa ilaha na area possibly naay enough na sufficiency nga kabutangan [where infrastructure projects will be implemented],” Baclayon said.

(It was important to organize them since they are the ones who will tell us where infrastructure projects can be implemented to mitigate the effects of the El Niño,” he said in a mix of Cebuano and English. (KJF / Joshua Usigan, BIPSU Intern)


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