Moalboal residents complain of poor water quality

Moalboal residents complain of poor water quality
Photo from Moalboal Water District

SOME residents in Moalboal expressed concerns as they continue to struggle with the water quality issues of one of their two main water sources.

Residents of barangays Tomonoy, Poblacion West, Poblacion East, Basdiot and Tuble have been advised to boil water from the Pangi water source since it started producing unclean and unsafe water unexpectedly on Feb. 10, 2024.

A certain James Alfred Miano, who rents a boarding house in Moalboal, said he resorted to buying mineral water in the meantime.

Photo from Moalboal Water District

“Tin-aw to una. Pwede ma gamit pang luto. Pero karon di na. Mag mineral na lang para safe,” he said.

(The water was clear before. It could be used for cooking, but not anymore. We use mineral water for safety.)

Moreover, Jarean Gorrero, 24, who lives in Basdiot, Moalboal, said he struggles to find drinking water after some water refilling stations in their area have been closed, especially the ones in Basdiot.

“Nag close na kay makaguba og filter daw. Ma dak-an na nuon sa gasto sila,” he said.

(They suspended operations because they said it could damage their water filter and cost more.)

A foreign national, who has been residing in Moalboal for over three years and asked not to be named, shared her experience dealing with eczema, a skin condition, amid the water issue in their place.

“I measured the pH level of the water two days ago, and the test showed that the pH ranged between 9 and 10 on the pH scale, so too high pH, (that’s) alkaline. I have tested the water here many times before and then it was at (only) seven on the pH scale.”

The pH is a measure of how acidic or basic the water is. According to the UCLA Health website, when the pH of water becomes greater than 8.5, its taste can become more bitter. “While this higher pH does not pose any health risks, it can cause the skin to become dry, itchy and irritated,” according to the website.

There has been no report of skin irritation among residents yet. SunStar Cebu tried to reach Moalboal Municipal Health Dr. Nicol Machacon to inquire about reports of skin irritation from residents in the area but he had yet to respond as of writing.

Moalboal Water District (MWD) Management head Felix Palca, in a Facebook post on Feb. 11, announced that the water supply from Pangi remains murky. However, he clarified that this is not due to the scheduled maintenance of the tank on Feb. 7.

“The murkiness of our water supply now comes directly from our source, where the water that comes out is extremely murky,” he said in Cebuano.

Although Palca said not all areas in Moalboal were affected by the incident as the second water source in Busay continues to operate normally, there are cases where the water supply from Pangi is interconnected with the Busay source. Consequently, this connection has resulted in residents from other barangays receiving unclear water.

As of Tuesday, Feb. 20, the water problem remains unsolved.

The MWD management noted a slight improvement in the water quality on Tuesday morning, Feb. 20, and said they hope the water will return to normal within this week.

The water district said it continues to investigate the matter.

Palca said they are also puzzled about how it happened since there was no heavy rain in the past few days.

He said one of their caretakers, named Rufo Gabales, at the Pangi source, reported that it may be due to some disturbance underground caused by a minor earthquake on Friday, Feb. 9.

“Siya usab misaysay nga niadtong Biyernes mga alas 11 sa gabii, nitaas ang tubig sa salog ug didto na nagsugod ang kalubog sa tubig,” Palca said.

(He also mentioned that last Friday around 11 p.m., the water level rose in the river, and that’s when the water became murky.)


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