Cebu City Council ‘dismayed’ at MCWD over state of water supply
CEBU CITY, Philippines —The Cebu City Council has expressed its dismay over the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) over the lack of water supply in Cebu City, and urged Mayor Edgardo Labella to practice his authority over the MCWD Board of Directors.
In a privilege speech, majority floor leader, Councilor Raymond Garcia, said that the city is dissatisfied with the services of MCWD, following various reports of long-running lack of supply in many barangays.
“I believe it would be safe to speak for everyone in this room that the City of Cebu is truly dissatisfied with the level of service the MCWD is providing all of us,” said Garcia during the regular session on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
Garcia criticized the MCWD for not being able to foresee and solve the growing demands of Metro Cebu, producing only 233,000 cubic meters a day, which is less than half of the demand for more than 500,000 cubic meters a day.
He also criticized the proposed solution of MCWD to accept at least 100,000 cubic meters of water from a privately managed desalination plant, because this will hike up the price of water to almost P90 per cubic meter.
The said proposal of MCWD concerned Labella so much, he wrote to the General Manager to defer and scrutinize the proposal before approval.
Garcia wanted the mayor to dismiss the Board of Directors of MCWD, as the mayor of Cebu City is given power over the board pursuant to Presidential Decree 198 Section 9, that the mayor has the authority to appoint and dismiss the Board of Directors.
However, opposition Councilors Alvin Dizon and Eugenio Gabuya, Jr. opposed to the direct dismissal of the Board of Directors as the city cannot put the entire blame to MCWD on the lack of water.
Dizon said the population boom and the environmental factors brought by climate change, particularly saltwater intrusion of groundwater wells, also contributed to the lack of water supply.
With this, the City Council decided that as one August body, they would urged the mayor to exercise his authority or prerogative on the status of the members of the Board of the MCWD.
In response, MCWD Board said in a statement to CDN Digital that they understand the concern of the Cebu City Council over the lack of water supply, and they appreciate the council for bringing the public’s attention to the 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 MCWD Board of Directors said.
MCWD said that they are working on finding adequate water sources while minimizing the loss of current ones through environmental factors brought by the recent El Niño phenomenon.
“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. The times have changed so much. Even the Cebu City Government has not yet lifted the state of calamity declaration due to the dry spell and it is already almost October. We are appealing for help and we welcome all solutions and recommendations from all sectors,” said MCWD.
MCWD are currently looking into the Mananga Dam and desalination plants as a long term solution to the water supply problem, but the board said these may take at least six years to realize.
For short-term solutions, MCWD focused on increasing supply from private partners in Carmen, Lapu-Lapu City and Mambaling and survey of available government-owned lots for well drilling.
“It also asked for the City Government to support its short and long-term solutions to the supply shortage and a public information campaign on water conservation,” said MCWD. /bmjo
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