MCWD to provide additional 7,000 cubic meters smid drought impact

WHERE’S THE WATER? Water is sparse at the Jaclupan wellfield in Talisay City in this photo provided by the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) on Friday, April 26, 2024. Completed in 1998, MCWD’s Jaclupan facility, officially known as the Mananga Phase I Project, catches, impounds and pumps out around 30,000 cubic meters of water per day under normal circumstances. However, on Friday, MCWD spokesperson Minerva Gerodias said the facility’s daily production had plummeted to 8,000 cubic meters per day, or just about a quarter of its normal capacity, as Cebu grapples with the effects of the drought caused by the El Niño phenomenon, which is expected to persist until the end of May. The facility supplies water to consumers in Talisay City and Cebu City.
WHERE’S THE WATER? Water is sparse at the Jaclupan wellfield in Talisay City in this photo provided by the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) on Friday, April 26, 2024. Completed in 1998, MCWD’s Jaclupan facility, officially known as the Mananga Phase I Project, catches, impounds and pumps out around 30,000 cubic meters of water per day under normal circumstances. However, on Friday, MCWD spokesperson Minerva Gerodias said the facility’s daily production had plummeted to 8,000 cubic meters per day, or just about a quarter of its normal capacity, as Cebu grapples with the effects of the drought caused by the El Niño phenomenon, which is expected to persist until the end of May. The facility supplies water to consumers in Talisay City and Cebu City. MCWD

CONSUMERS of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) in northern service areas will enjoy an additional 7,000 cubic meters of water.

This is amid the adverse effects of the drought brought by the El Niño phenomenon affecting the water utility's water supplies.

According to the data sent by MCWD Spokesperson Minerva Gerodias to SunStar Cebu on Thursday, May 9, 2024, this will come from the Cebu North Bulk Water Supply.

MCWD said that this water is sourced from the Luyang River in Carmen town, northern Cebu, which has not experienced a decrease, unlike other surface water sources of the water utility.

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

According to MCWD, their supplier Manila Water Philippine Ventures Inc. (MWPVI) will supply an additional volume of up to 7,000 cubic meters to MCWD on top of the 35,000 cubic meters of water daily that it is now supplying to the water district. 

They added that they will begin delivery within the month, although no definite date has been set yet.

This is seen to benefit the towns of Liloan and Consolacion and alleviate the scarcity of water in barangays Umapad, Alang-Alang, Looc, Opao, Tabok, Cambaro, Pakanaan and Pagsabungan in Mandaue City, as well as those in Pusok and the Mactan Export Zone in Lapu-Lapu City. 

Earlier reports said that the water source in Carmen remained stable despite the El Niño phenomenon currently affecting the country.

Water deficit

Gerodias reported last Thursday that the water district's current production stands at 236,223 cubic meters per day, representing a 21.5 percent decrease from the usual 301,000 cubic meters. 

This resulted in a shortfall of 64,777 cubic meters daily.

In an earlier SunStar report dated April 26, the water deficit was recorded at 21.1 percent, with an output of 237,472 cubic meters.

Gerodias said that the Buhisan Dam in Cebu City, with a normal production of 6,000 cubic meters, and the Compostela source, which typically yields 12,500 cubic meters, are currently dry, contributing no water.

However, some surface water sources remain operational, including Jaclupan wellfield in Talisay City, now produces 6,669 cubic meters per day, down from its usual 30,000 cubic meters. 

Additionally, Lusaran Hydro in Cebu City, serving Barangay Busay and Pit-os, only manages 6,840 cubic meters, a decrease from its standard 30,000 cubic meters.

Only Luyang River in Carmen town remains unaffected by the drought, maintaining a steady output of 34,857 cubic meters daily.

Luyang River

In a Capitol meeting on April 22, Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia met with MCWD Board Chairman Jose Daluz III, General Manager Edgar Donoso, and MWPI General Manager Stan Genosa.

Garcia assured that she will find ways to maximize the water production in their facility in Carmen, and one of these is the lifting of the order closing the two deep wells in the area.

The governor will also issue a cease-and-desist order for at least two mountain resorts in Carmen for various violations of environmental laws. 

The Environmental Management Bureau in Central Visayas (EMB 7) has found these two resorts to have built concrete structures within the mandatory 20-meter easement zone of Luyang River. 

Garcia ordered that the structures, especially the pools, be demolished to allow the water to flow freely and help maximize the water production of Luyang River. 

In the statement, Daluz welcomes the governor’s move, adding that MCWD needs all the additional supply it can get considering the drastic drop in the production of surface water sources.

He said that surface water sources of MCWD like the river in Compostela, the Jaclupan facility, have been severely affected by the dry spell, and their production has decreased, affecting thousands of households.

Desalinated water

Meanwhile, MCWD said that it will start receiving initial delivery of desalinated seawater from Barangay Opao in Mandaue City.

Starting Friday, May 17, it expects to receive 10,000 cubic meters of desalinated water.

The desalination plant in Barangay Mambaling, Cebu City, is expected to commence its initial deliveries either during the last week of May or the first week of June. Initially, it is expected to deliver 10,000 cubic meters as well.

Meanwhile, the desalination plant in Cordova on Mactan Island, which can initially deliver 5,000 cubic meters, is also nearing completion as they are already running tests in its water.

When fully functional, these three plants can produce more, with plants in Barangays Mambaling and Opao capable of producing 25,000 cubic meters each, while the plant in Cordova can produce 20,000 cubic meters.

Daluz said on Saturday, May 11, that MCWD is on the right track, asserting that it is promoting desalination projects in Cebu.

He said that these projects produce an abundant supply of much cheaper potable water than the potable water sold by water refilling stations at P1,000 per cubic meter.

Daluz said a 20-liter container is being sold at P20 each, equivalent to P1 per liter.

"One cubic meter contains 1,000 liters. Therefore, the price of potable water sold by water refilling stations is P1,000 per cubic meter," Daluz said.

He acknowledged that currently, the groundwater source within MCWD is severely affected and heavily contaminated. 

"The most viable technology that will guarantee the production of safe drinking water in Metropolitan Cebu is the desalination technology," Daluz said.

Daluz added that pushing for these projects will protect its consumers from spending more money, particularly from paying P1,000 per cubic meters for their potable water needs. (KJF)

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