Cebu News

MCWD eyes desalination: 30 million liters lost to dry spell

Iris Hazel Mascardo - The Freeman
MCWD eyes desalination: 30 million liters lost to dry spell
The ongoing dry spell has decreased the water level at Jaclupan Dam, one of MCWD’s main surface water sources.
Aldo Banaynal

CEBU, Philippines — The Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) is turning to desalination as means to provide more water for its stakeholders as Cebu is currently under a dry spell status.

Yesterday, March 13, 2024, the management of MCWD spearheaded by Chairman Jose Daluz III faced the media in a press conference following an inspection of the Jaclupan Dam, which is one of its main surface water sources.

Daluz said they are worried over the current status of the surface water from Jaclupan, Lusaran, and Compostela bulk water supply because of El Niño, which has resulted in a production deficit.

"We are alarmed uy kay laliman kag 30 million liters na ang nawala nato nga production dako na nga effect sa atong supply…we are on our feet karon," said Daluz.

According to Daluz, their normal production capability without the El Niño is at 301,000 cubic meters per day (CMD). With the current condition, the actual production is at 272,000 CMD corresponding to an overall production deficit of 29,000 CMD.

The deficit is affecting 35,000 households all over the service area of MCWD, that includes the cities of Cebu, Carcar, Danao, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Naga and Talisay, as well as the towns of Consolacion, Compostela, Liloan, Cordova, Minglanilla and San Fernando.

Daluz said that the Jaclupan production has reduced from 30,000 to 20,000 CMD while the Lusaran production has reduced from 30,000 to 20,000 CMD. Further, Compostela-Cotcot production has reduced from 10,000 to 3,000 CMD and the Buhisan or Tisa Filter Plant production has reduced from 6,000 to 4,000 CMD.

With this production deficit, Daluz reiterated his emphasis on the urgency of the implementation of the desalination projects, which process is still ongoing and is expected to get on the ground this April.

MCWD General Manager Edgar Donoso also said that although surface water is directly affected by the El Niño, this does not mean that the groundwater will not be affected.

He added that groundwater will eventually be affected should rainwater not be replenished.

Engineer Miguelito Pato, MCWD vice chairman, also said that the desalination project will also address further El Niño concerns and will put an end to the yearly challenge.

"We just hope that all things come into play on schedule just in time lang gyud na ma arrest ang El Niño not just this year," said Pato.

To address the water crisis, MCWD has laid down its list of interventions, including the desalination project which is projected to produce a total capability of 70,000 MCD for the three plants in Mandaue, in Cebu City, and in Cordova.

In its first year of implementation, all three plants are expected to produce 10,000 CMD each that are also anticipated to make up for the loss of surface water.

Pending the implementation of desalination, another intervention that the MCWD has been preparing for is the acquisition of more water tankers especially for the mountain areas.

"Kay didto wa na gyuy tubig sad, we have eight water tankers in the areas with intermittent water supply especially in the elevated areas," said Daluz.

Currently, the water tankers are serving elevated areas in the cities of Talisay, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu and Cebu.

Daluz, however, admitted that among their challenges in the water crisis is the non-issuance or delayed issuance of excavation permits for their water sourcing and distribution line projects, as well as for leak repair activities.

With this, he calls upon the city government for the exception on its call to stop the excavations and diggings around Cebu City area.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama has earlier ordered the halt to all excavations and diggings effective last Monday, March 11, 2024 as contractors were called to appear before the mayor's office.

"Naa raba tay mga test diha karon sa atoang desalination, we are making test na para sa atong pag operate na nya usahay magkawt sad na sila if magkinahanglan og repair so hopefully the city government will understand," said Daluz.

Further, as MCWD carries out their plans to counter the water deficit, GM Donoso hopes to get the help of consumers by conserving as much water amidst the dry spell. — ATO (FREEMAN)

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