Amid dry spell, defunct suppliers: Water shortagebound to linger

CEBU, Philippines — Cebuanos will have to brace for more lack of water supply as dry spell continues and two of Metropolitan Cebu Water District’s water suppliers are currently out of the distribution system.

“Our lack of water to no water is now widespread. Mas widespread siya karon as compared pag summer,” MCWD spokesperson Charmaine Rodriguez-Kara told The FREEMAN.

Kara said the areas affected include the cities of Talisay, Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, as well as the towns of Cordova, Liloan, Compostela and Carmen.

She said that affected consumers will experience lower service hours while some will have no water supply for over 24 hours.

Kara said that the water supply deficit in MCWD service area as of last week was 20,000 cubic meters per day but as of yesterday, the deficit already reached 36,000 cubic meters per day.

As a result, the water utility firm has dispatched its water trucks to Barangays Sambag 1, Sambag 2, Sta. Cruz and Cogon Ramos in Cebu City.

Kara said that the Buhisan Dam’s water level has dropped to a critical point since Monday despite the rains experienced the past few days.

In a statement, MCWD said that its dam’s production is now down to 1,300 cubic meters per day since MCWD is making sure the impounded water will not be drained totally amid rising temperatures.

The dam’s average production is 7,000 cu. m. per day and it relies on rains recharging the Buhisan Watershed in Cebu City to contribute four percent to MCWD’s daily production of 238,000 cu. m. per day.

“MCWD relies heavily on groundwater wells for its daily supply. Groundwater sources account for 70 percent of the water district’s production,” the statement read.

However, MCWD said that Metro Cebu’s groundwater sources are now severely compromised, with MCWD projecting daily extraction at 400,000 cu. m. per day while the groundwater balance or its supply capability based on the recharge from rains is only at 370,000 cu. m. per day.

It added that overextraction, nitrate contamination and saltwater intrusion have caused the shutdown several of MCWD’s wells in Cebu City and one well of its private supplier in Consolacion, widening the current supply-demand gap of 238,000 versus 500,000 cu. m. per day.

MCWD is looking at alternative water sources, like the Mananga and Lusaran dams and a pure seawater desalination plant in Mactan island as solutions to the supply shortage in Metro Cebu.

Last week, MCWD’s Jaclupan facility in Talisay City, which relies on the Mananga River and watershed for supply, also had a lower yield due to the lack of sufficient rainfall since August.

Jaclupan’s production is now averaging at 20,000 cu. m. per day, down from its average of 33,000 cu. m. per day.

“This is also critical since MCWD is relying on the Jaclupan Facility as an impounding site in preparation for the summer months next year,” it said.

MCWD’s production last Tuesday was at 206,000 cu. m. per day or a deficit of 32,000 cu. m. per day, affecting over 30,000 households in its service area.

In the middle of September, MCWD already lost over 20,000 cu. m. per day due to saltwater intrusion, wells giving lower yields due to the dry spell and the shutdown of a private water company’s plant in Barangay Subabasbas due to plant problems.

Another problem is that the MCWD’s biggest bulk supplier that sources from the Luyang River in Carmen town at 35,000 cubic meters per day is now producing about 32,000 cubic meters per day due to the dry spell.

“This unexpected volume loss during this time of the year is affecting a huge part of MCWD’s service area—even bigger than the affected areas during the summer months,” it said.

Kara advised consumers to conserve water especially those who have water.

“Kani atong advisory nga for customers to conserve water para ni sa mga duol sa water source kay the nearer you are to the source, the more you have water. Pero kadtong tuana layo sa source, mao nang dili na makaabot ang tubig nila. Use only what you need,” she said.


Meanwhile, Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco has accused MCWD of misrepresentation for publicly announcing that today’s eight full hours of water service interruption is due to power service interruption on wells in Liloan.

MCWD has announced that today, October 11, Liloan, Consolacion, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and various areas of Cebu City will have “low water pressure to no water supply” from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Frasco said that in at least four instances since August, MCWD has publicly pointed to both Liloan wells and a power distribution company’s inability to fulfill their obligation to provide water to Metro Cebu. JMD (FREEMAN)


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