Buhisan dam marks centennial
- Jessica Ann R. Pareja () - March 1, 2011 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Metro Cebu Water District celebrates the centennial years of Buhisan Dam this year.

But despite its 100 years of existence, MCWD general manager Armando Paredes said the dam remains strong and stable.

In fact, Paredes said it is capable to serve the Cebuano water consumers for another century.

The utility company hired consultants to make a study on the stability of the structure, the risk of landslide and the effect downstream of possible dam overflow.

“So far, Buhisan is in good condition. It appears that American standards 100 years ago are really good,” Paredes said.

He said that the rock formation in the dam appears to be solid which means it is less susceptible to landslide.

Two years ago, there had been reports of landslide in the area which earned concerned from MCWD officials, thus, the on-going technical assessment at present.

Apart from the risk of the facility to landslide, MCWD is also trying to find out what will be the affect downstream in case the dam overflows considering the increasing number of informal settlers along the riverbanks.

The concern about overflow was brought by the fact that the dam is already heavily silted and is likely to overflow during rains or typhoons. If the dam overflows, the water directly goes to the rivers in the lowlands and escapes to the sea.

MCWD is trying to address the siltation by desilting the dam regularly.

But Paredes admitted that desilting the dam brings a problem on the disposal of silt materials.

Paredes said that they are having a hard time disposing the silt which they have to transport from the dam to the city proper via trucks. They have not figured out also how the silt may be utilized in other ways.

“This is the reason why we have set a bidding for the desilting of Buhisan. We will let private contractors to help us because they might be able to do it better,” Paredes said.

MCWD Assistant Manager for Operations Ernie Delco said that they have thought of desilting the dam by flushing the silt directly to the waterways.

But this gained opposition from the Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water (CUSW) and other environmental groups.

Silt might clog the waterways and might also cause the rivers to overflow. Considering the current setting in the rivers and creeks in the city, overflowing poses great danger to informal settlers who have encroached the three meter easement zones.

Fr. Mar Alingasa of the CUSW said that they have been advocating for the implementation of the easement law by local government units long time ago.

“People must understand that they should not place themselves in danger areas,” Alingasa said.

Buhisan Dam turned 100 years this year since it was built during the American Colonial era in 1911. It was built to provide potable water in Cebu at the height of a cholera outbreak.

The official opening of the waterworks system was marked by the turning on of the fountain at the center of the now called Fuente Osmeña Circle.

The fountain symbolized Cebu’s development as a premier city in the country and the realization of the dream to have a piped water system in the island. (FREEMAN NEWS)

AMERICAN COLONIAL ARMANDO PAREDES ASSISTANT MANAGER BUHISAN BUHISAN DAM BUT PAREDES CEBU CEBU UNITING DAM FUENTE OSME MAR ALINGASA
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