MCWD to consumers: Conserve water

CEBU. Consumers are urged to conserve water as the Metropolitan Cebu Water District’s (MCWD) surface water facility reaches critical level, losing at least 29,000 cubic meters per day (CMD) due to the ongoing dry spell caused by El Niño.
CEBU. Consumers are urged to conserve water as the Metropolitan Cebu Water District’s (MCWD) surface water facility reaches critical level, losing at least 29,000 cubic meters per day (CMD) due to the ongoing dry spell caused by El Niño.Photo by Arkeen Larisma

CONSUMERS are urged to conserve water as production at Metropolitan Cebu Water District’s (MCWD) surface water facility reaches critical level, losing at least 29,000 cubic meters per day (CMD) due to the ongoing dry spell caused by El Niño.

That’s 4,000 CMD more than what the water district reported last March 5, 2024.

In a press conference held at the MCWD’s surface water facility in Barangay Jaclupan in Talisay City on Wednesday, March 13, MCWD chairman Jose Daluz III said the water district faces a water production deficit, affections portions of the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay.

Daluz said the reductions have occurred across various surface water facilities.

In Jaclupan and in the mountain barangay of Lusaran, Cebu City, production has dropped from 30,000 CMD to 20,000 CMD, while production at the Buhisan Dam has fallen to 4,000 CMD from 6,000 CMD.

Under normal circumstances, MCWD produces 301,000 CMD, but production is down to 272,000 CMD.

Daluz said as part of MCWD’s intervention, they are delivering water to upland areas that are experiencing intermittent water supply.

MCWD general manager Edgar Donoso urged the directly affected consumers to conserve water due to the limited supply.

Donoso said the production deficit has affected a total of 35,000 households from all service areas.

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

Donoso said the impact of the El Niño extends beyond surface water to include groundwater, although the effects on groundwater are unnoticeable.

Meanwhile, Daluz also associated MCWD’s challenges to the non-issuance of excavation permits, which they need for the sourcing and distribution of line projects and leak repairs.

Edgar Ortega, MCWD assistant general manager for operation, said that despite the dry spell, the water district does not need to ration water in affected areas.

Ortega said they have eight tankers that will be used to deliver water in areas where the water cannot reach due to low pressure.

He said they currently deliver water to Barangay Lagtang, Maghaway and Pooc in Talisay City; Sitios Maracas and Sudlon in Barangay Lahug and Sitio Banawa in Barangay Guadalupe in Cebu City; and Barangays Cabancalan, Maguikay and Umapad in Mandaue City.

In an interview with “Beyond the Headlines,” SunStar Cebu’s online news and commentary program, on Tuesday, March 12, MCWD spokesperson Minerva Gerodias said they expect the delivery of 30,000 CMD of desalinated water from three sources starting in April.

“That is why we are hoping additional water sources, those desalinated water projects, can provide initial deliveries next month,” she said.

She said the supply will come from the desalination plants in Barangay Opao, Mandaue City, Barangay Mambaling Cebu City, and Cordova town on Mactan Island.

She clarified that these are only initial deliveries since the plants in Barangays Mambaling and Opao can each produce 25,000 cubic meters when fully functional, while the plant in Cordova can produce 20,000 cubic meters.

“But, hopefully, these initial deliveries are already of big help,” she said.

Gerodias said the additional 30,000 CMD will be just enough to augment the water shortage of 29,000 CMD.

MCWD is currently “balancing the distribution,” meaning areas with complete water service share their water with areas experiencing intermittent or no water.

“Our production department will do something about it so that we can at least balance our available supply. For example, those who are receiving full 24-hour service, will now have 22 or 20 hours instead. So the other supply will be given to the less,” she said.

Gerodias said water tankers are on standby to provide aid to areas that do not have any water supply.

Unlike in the past, she said they will not ask residents to form lines to receive water. Instead, they will directly inject the water from the tankers into the distribution lines for safety reasons, she said.

This method will ensure that the distribution of water is accurately accounted for, she said. If water is manually distributed, it cannot be metered, which results in non-revenue water.

Gerodias said they are taking this step to ensure the water supply is not interrupted, but the water pressure may be reduced.

Gerodias is urging the public to conserve water and to avoid wastage. She emphasized the need for everyone to practice water-saving measures so there will be enough supply to cater to all consumers.

Although they cannot shut down carwashes, Gerodias appealed to these establishments to reduce their water pressure to avoid unnecessary wastage.

“We encourage prudent use of water. I think it is our responsibility, not only during the El Niño but every day... We hope the public to responsibly use the water, particularly that we are short on supply,” she said.

Alfredo Quiblat Jr., chief of Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Visayas, earlier announced that Cebu has officially been under a dry spell since the last week of February.

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.

The El Niño phenomenon leads to decreased precipitation or, in some cases, a complete absence of rainfall, which can significantly impact crop yields and pose various environmental and economic challenges.

Pagasa also warns that the phenomenon may persist until the end of May. / AML, KJF


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