USAID assists CDO in achieving water security
Vberni Regalado (The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The need for clean and safe water is a problem that needs to be addressed on a global scale. According to the World Health Organization and the UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme in 2015, 633 million people all over the world lack access to safe water.

In 2015, the World Economic Forum announced that the water crisis is the top global risk based on impact to society. This is why affected communities, especially developing countries such as the Philippines, are starting to create interventions to prevent the ill effects of a looming water shortage.

As an archipelago surrounded by many water forms, the Philippines could be spared from the future crisis only if we know how to manage our resources. The thing, however, is that we do not have enough capacity and facility to become water-sufficient. Just imagine Angat Dam supplying water to the entire Metro Manila and to the farmlands of Bulacan and Pampanga.

In Cagayan de Oro City, 80,000 cubic meters of water are put to waste daily due to leaks, wastage, pilferage caused by illegal connections, and other means. That is about 400,000 drums of water that could have been used by households or would have irrigated farmlands.

Cagayan De Oro Water District (COWD) has more than 50 percent of non-revenue water (NRW) wastage every day, more than double the acceptable level that is 20 percent.

To solve the issue, USAID extended its assistance to the city to create a comprehensive geographic information system that would capacitate the workers in identifying areas of concern. With an overall funding of $800,000, the NRW reduction program slated to kick off in February is expected to decrease water wastes caused by physical and commercial losses to an acceptable level so that the water produced will instead serve households.

The program will enable Cagayan de Oro Water District to develop, manage, maintain, and update its own Geographic Information System (GIS) database, carry out hydraulic modeling as well as design and form District Metered Areas (DMAs).

According to Cagayan de Oro Water District general manager Rachel Beja, the project will result in improved water services in the entire city.

“It has been more than four decades since the Water District was founded and we believe it is high time to rehabilitate the system to improve our services to the city,” she added.

“For others, non-revenue water waste is loss of revenues that could be used in rehabilitation and other projects, but for the government, it is a loss of water resources that could have been used by other consumers,” Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Undersecretary for Planning and PPP Ma. Catalina Cabral expressed.

USAID Division director Dani Newcomb said that the project prepares the city for the future impacts of climate change.

“According to research, by 2025, two-thirds of the population will live on a world with severely scarce water sources,” she added.

 The entire program will be completed by July 2017.

 

ANGAT DAM BULACAN AND PAMPANGA CAGAYAN DE ORO WATER DISTRICT CATALINA CABRAL DANI NEWCOMB DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS DISTRICT METERED AREAS GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM IN CAGAYAN ORO WATER DISTRICT WATER
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