Cebu News

MCWD under fire: Provincial Board, City Council hit serious water problem ,

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo, Lorraine Ecarma - The Freeman
MCWD under fire: Provincial Board, City Council hit serious water problem   ,
Board Member Glenn Soco, chairperson of the Provincial Board’s Committee on Planning and Development, expressed his "dismay, dissatisfaction, and loss of trust and confidence" on MCWD in a resolution he passed before the Board.

CEBU, Philippines — Legislators in Cebu Province and Cebu City have criticized the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) for the “water crisis” experienced in some areas in the province.

Board Member Glenn Soco, chairperson of the Provincial Board’s Committee on Planning and Development, expressed his "dismay, dissatisfaction, and loss of trust and confidence" on MCWD in a resolution he passed before the Board.

"The Metropolitan Cebu Water District has no justifiable reason to their poor water supply, and in fact, continues to offer its services to new water consumers despite their persistent claims that water supply is not enough for the Province of Cebu at the present time," Soco’s resolution reads.

Fifth District Board Member Andrei “Red” Duterte co-sponsored the resolution.

Soco cited reports that water is distributed only in some barangays in Mandaue City from 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.

He said even barangays in Lapu-Lapu City and the entire Municipality of Cordova are experiencing water shortages, which is affecting hotels and resorts.

“We know for a fact that the service area of MCWD has already expanded to include a wider area in the Province of Cebu so I’m really fully convinced and I feel that the people of not just my district but likewise the entire province whose areas are serviced by MCWD that they are tired, frustrated and hungry for water,” Soco said.

Duterte, meanwhile, said that aside from supplying water from Metro Cebu, MCWD also promised Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to fix the water problem in the northern town of Carmen, something that is yet to materialize.

“The MCWD actually gets its source from Carmen town. Right now, in the town of Carmen, nine barangays are facing great difficulty in the water supply,” Duterte said.

Carmen is a bulk water supplier of MCWD. The Luyang Watershed in the town provides MCWD 35 million cubic meters a day.

City Council

Meanwhile, in a privilege speech at the Cebu City Council, Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said the city has been receiving complaints about MCWD’s service.

“It can be said that the water supplied by the MCWD is far too inadequate. The water demand in Cebu is projected to be at 580,000 cubic meter per day. MCWD’s daily production is only at 233,000 cubic meters,” Garcia said.

He said MCWD is currently entertaining a proposal to supply about 100 million liters per day from a desalination plant to be constructed by a consortium of the Aboitiz Group and the Metro Pacific Group of Companies.

He said Mayor Edgardo Labella already sent communication to the MCWD officials on this proposal.

“While on its face, it may appear to be a good deal, but it actually comes at a heavy cost. Per liter, it will cost the MCWD almost P90, that’s almost three times the amount MCWD currently purchases its water from current water sources,” Garcia said, adding, that consumers will have to bear the brunt of the added cost.

He called on Mayor Edgardo Labella to exercise his duty as mayor pursuant to Section 9 of Presidential Decree 198, which states that “directors are appointed by the “appointing authority,” which is, in this case, the mayor of Cebu City.

Garcia wanted for Labella to remove the members of the MCWD Board but Councilors Nestor Archival and Alvin Dizon objected to this direct request as the alleged negotiation between MCWD and proponents of the desalination plant has not been completed and has not been finalized.

“From what we have known from MCWD is that they are not actually approving it now. That’s why they’re preparing it. We can’t judge MCWD because it’s not yet approved,” Archival said, pointing out that MCWD is but a distributor of water to consumers.

Dizon, for his part, said the removal and replacement of the MCWD Board of Directors will not solve the water problem.

Soco also said he is dismayed by the fact that the provincial government does not have a seat in the MCWD Board.

"The position of the Province of Cebu with this problem is just really an observer because we do not have representation in MCWD and, likewise, does the province have any say unto the selection of its board of directors?" Soco said.

The governor also said the province will take steps in pushing for representation in the MCWD Board.

“The truth of the matter is, there is too much complacency and too much disinterest in addressing this very urgent problem… apektado na man ang probinsya ani so katong loss of confidence expressed in that resolution should be our opening salvo,” the governor said.

The City Council invited MCWD’s Board of Director to its session next week to discuss the lack of water supply and the pending proposal for the consortium, which might increase water cost.


In a statement released last night, the MCWD Board said it will present to the provincial government officials the supply and demand situation and we will ask for whatever help they can provide to MCWD.

Meanwhile, the board expressed its apologies to consumers in Cebu City affected by the water shortage but thanked the City Council for bringing the public's attention to the water supply issue.

"Our politicians are the best communicators in our society because when they speak, everybody listens. They are MCWD’s worthy partners in solving this water supply shortage," the Board said.

It explained that the water supply shortage in Metro Cebu has been going on for 20 years due to population growth and the fast economic development.

While MCWD “has been working nonstop to close the supply-demand gap,” it is reportedly faced with depletion and the saltwater and nitrate contamination of water sources.

“We lost over 20,000 cubic meters per day in the last 45 days due to saltwater intrusion, the lowering of groundwater levels and the lingering effects of the El Niño phenomenon at this time of the year when Cebuanos already expected ‘normal’ water supply conditions,” it said.

It said MCWD will welcome solutions and recommendations from all sectors.

“As the policy-making body of the water district for the last 2 years, we have pursued the development of two major sources-the Mananga Dam and desalinated water for Mactan--which has not been done before… Efforts to increase supply were spent on desalinated water initiatives from several proponents and finalizing the Terms of Reference for the Mananga Dam. But these projects will each take three and six years approximately,” it said.

The board also said that short-term solutions were focused on increasing supply from private partners in Carmen, Lapu-Lapu City, and Mambaling in Cebu City.

“We also pushed for the survey of available government-owned lots for well drilling. We hold meetings outside the boardroom to check on projects, like the Danao Bulk Supply Project, to monitor its status,” it added. – JMO (FREEMAN)

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