The travails of MCWD: Part 1

By: Fernando Fajardo - CDN Digital | October 16,2019 - 06:52 AM

The provision of safe, dependable, and affordable supply of water in Metro Cebu is getting to be more problematic these days such that the Mayor of Cebu City who appoints the board members of the Metro Cebu Water District threatened to fire them.

Five years ago, Ramon Aboitiz Foundations, Inc. (RAFI) asked me to make a study on the state of water supply in Metro Cebu as provided by the MCWD with emphasis on issues affecting its operation and development.

Today, I discussed first the state of development of the provision of water supply in Metro Cebu as of 2015 when I made the study. The rest of the findings of the study will follow in the next issue of this column.

As a background, in 1910, the Cebu Municipal Council created the Osmeña Waterworks Systems (OWS). In 1973, President Marcos signed Presidential Decree No. 198 or the Local Water Utilities Act of 1973. In the following year, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) was created. Presently, MCWDs service or franchise area includes the four cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Talisay and the municipalities of Consolacion, Cordova, Compostela, and Liloan.

MCWD’s franchise area had an enumerated population of 2,048,806 million in the 2010 census. This has grown by 2.05 percent annually to 2,278,654 in 2015. At this rate of growth, this total will reach 2.52 million by 2020 and 2.79 million by 2030.

Like the rest of the water districts in the country, the powers of the MCWD are as enumerated under Chapter VII of PD 198 as amended by PD 768 and PD 1479 as follows:

·       Acquisition of Waterworks

·       Sale of Water. – The district shall have the power to sell water, pursuant to generally applicable rules and regulations, to any person for use within the district.

·       Sewerage. – A district may require, construct, operate, and furnish facilities and services within or without the district for the collection, treatment, and disposal of sewerage, waste, and storm water.

·       Rights of Way. – The right of way is hereby granted to locate, construct, and maintain works of the district on any land, which is now, or hereafter may be, owned by the Government of the Philippines or by any of its political subdivisions, and/or instrumentalities.

·       Contracts. – A district shall have the power to enter into contracts with any person for performing any functions of the district.

·       Protection of Waters and Facilities of District.

·       Fire Protection Capacity. – The district may install and maintain pipeline capacity and additional hydrants for fire protection purposes.

As of the time of the study, MCWD’s water supply came from groundwater (with 123 wells, including the wells in the Jaclupan weir), surface water (Buhisan Dam), and several bulk water suppliers contracted by the MCWD.

The total production capacity of all these sources in 2014 was 79,470,119 cubic meters (m3) annually (217,726 m3 daily) but actual production of water only reached 92.4 percent or 73,462,590 m3 annually (201,267 m3 daily, leaving more than 7 percent in water supply. Total groundwater production accounts for 82.76 percent of the water produced, followed by bulk water supply 15.8 percent (mostly groundwater, except for a small desalinated portion), and surface water, 1.47 percent.

In 2014, MCWD had a total connection of 162,534 for all types of users, which is grouped into Residential (98.9 percent), Communal (0.06 percent), Commercial/Industrial (1.8 percent), Subdivision (0.05 percent), Condominiums (0.03 percent), and Government (0.12 percent).

Total water consumed reached 55,887,289 cubic meters for the year 2014, which are divided into Residential (84.1 percent), Communal (0.22 percent), Commercial/Industrial (9.8 percent), Subdivision (3.5 percent), Condominiums (0.73 percent), and Government (1.57 percent). Per residential connection, the average consumption in 2014 is 295.53 cubic meters annually or 0.81 cubic meters daily.

Of the total annual water production of 73,462,590 m3, only 55,887,289 m3 of water or 76.1 percent was billed. The rest, 17,575,301 m3 or 23.9 percent were non-revenue water.

In 2015, MCWD aimed to secure more water mainly from bulk water suppliers. From 77,300 m3/day of water in 2015, the additional bulk water supply is estimated to reach 132,300 m3/day by 2020. Manila water would be the biggest bulk water supplier with an estimated output of 35,000 m3/day from its source in Luyang, Carmen north of Metro Cebu.

The Roadmap Study for Sustainable Urban Development in Metro Cebu prepared by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) includes the Sub-Roadmap for Water Supply. In this roadmap, the projected water supply is based on the output of existing water supply source of the MCWD and the forthcoming additional bulk water supply up to 2020. The projected supply of water up to 2050 assumes no known additional forthcoming supply of water from these sources. This means that any deficit from 2020 to 2050 has to be provided from new sources, which MCWD must develop on its own or by PPP. 

Projected domestic water demand is projected based on the niche demand of the projected population of the MCWD franchise area plus the demand for water for industrial/commercial and government uses. Niche demand includes the demand for water of those currently connected to MCWD and those willing to connect when supply infrastructure is available. It is assumed that niche demand will reach 80 percent by 2050. Industrial/commercial use of water is estimated at 12.5 percent to 15 percent of the domestic use while government use of water is estimated only at 2 percent. To this projected niche demand for water is added the non-revenue water is expected to be reduced to 20 percent by 2020 and 12 percent by 2050

Based on draft  report on the Roadmap Study, MCWD would have a surplus supply of water of some 59,448 cubic meters per day in 2020 but will have a deficit of some 29,037 m3/per day in 2030, 156,420 m3/per day in 2040, and 297,025 m3/per day in 2050.

To meet this deficit, several surface water sources are suggested to be developed, among which are the Mananga II Dam, Lusaran Dam, Kotkot Dam, Malubog Dam, and Danao River. The other sources suggested are the groundwater in Northern and Southern parts of Metro Cebu, desalination, and rainwater harvesting.

Part 2 will follow next week.

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