Carmen Mayor Carlo Villamor said he is scheduled to meet with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia today to discuss possible solutions to Carmen’s water shortage.
The STAR/Edd Gumban
Carmen, a reservoir, faces water crisis
Lorraine L. Ecarma (The Freeman) - August 15, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — While Luyang River in Carmen town, northern Cebu supplies 35 million liters of water daily to homes in Metro Cebu, the municipality is currently experiencing a water crisis.

Carmen Mayor Carlo Villamor said he is scheduled to meet with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia today to discuss possible solutions to Carmen’s water shortage.

He said the local government hopes to coordinate with Capitol for the upgrading of the Luyang Watershed into a Level III water system.

The upgrade, he said, would allow residents to enjoy higher water pressure in their homes.

The Luyang River is a major source of potable water supply of the franchise area of the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD), which serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Talisay, and the towns of Compostela, Liloan, Consolacion, and Cordova.

In yesterday’s interview during the launching of the 1Cebu Expo, Garcia said the Capitol will look into the water shortage in Carmen, Cebu’s primary bulk water source.

Garcia said the Capitol has set aside P50 million in the supplemental budget for water systems.

The governor said a portion of the budget will be allotted to solve the water crisis in Carmen.

“The irony here is that Carmen is the source of 35 million liters a day being supplied to Metro Cebu area and yet residents in Carmen complain of lack of water,” she said.

Also, Manila Water Consortium Inc. (MWCI), which operates P1.55-billion Carmen Bulk Water Supply Project, vowed to help Carmen.

The project provides 35 million liters of bulk water per day to address the deteriorating groundwater condition in the province.

Moreover, on August 9, Garcia met with MWCI officials, discussing the terms of bulk water project.

She said MCWI failed to give her the breakdown of revenues for its five-year operation and instead presented her just lump sum amounts.

“I asked MCWI to submit the full report on the five-year revenue sharing, but failed,” she said.

She also called out MCWI over a discrepancy in their report.

“The price that I saw there was P24.95 per cubic meter-- mao tong taripa. That was not the price that I remembered that Pepito Alvarez and his group had put in. It was a much lower price. If I can recall, if I am not mistaken it was P16 or even lower,” she said.

In 2011, Garcia recalled that MCWI submitted an unsolicited proposal for the watershed project, which was subjected to a Swiss challenge.

Swiss bidding challenge is the course the government takes when dealing with unsolicited proposals. This is when the government invites private groups to make competing offers, while giving the original proponent the right to match them.

Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Cebu Bulk Water Corporation were the challengers.

Garcia said Cebu Bulk Water, headed by now Palawan Governor Jose “Pepito” Alvarez, gave in the best challenge.

“Higher revenues for the province of Cebu and a lower tariff for the per cubic meter price,” she said. (FREEMAN)

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