Talisay, Cebu City tackle water woes

By: Nestle L. Semilla, Victor Anthony V. Silva April 25,2015 - 12:59 AM

Pagasa: Dry spell could last until November

WITH a dry spell that could last till November, Talisay and Cebu city officials are taking emergency steps to address low water supply in some areas, especially the uplands.

There’s a 70 percent chance the El Niño phenomenon will extend till June or August, said Oscar Tabada, Visayas director of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

And there’s a greater than 60 percent chance of it lasting through  September to November.

While rains normally start in May, this year May is expected to be the hottest month with temperatures reaching 37 degrees Celsius, he said.

From April to September, Cebu will have below normal rainfall, Tabada said.

“People should conserve water. We have a big problem with water supply. This is the time to pray for a storm,” he said.

Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak said he will asked the city council on Monday to declare a state of calamity in the mountain barangays and tap P178 million in disaster funds carried over from 2011.

He said the city agriculturist and the Cebu City Hillyland Management Board are recommending this action to minimize the impact of the dry spell in the uplands.

“We will again provide water hoses and drums. The first batch  to more than 20 barangays was  not enough. We need more,” he said.

Tumulak said private water distributors will be tapped.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said MCWD committed to provide water and equipment.

“MCWD will provide. They are getting additional volume from Carmen,” he said. The water district has been getting 18,000 cubic meters of water from the Carmen bulk water supply project since January.

In Talisay, the city government has agreed to help provide water to some 1,000 families in Maghaway, where residents in five sitios are forced to fetch water in other barangays because faucets have gone dry.

City Information Officer Cynthia Barrit said they are checking with barangay chairmen to determine which areas, aside from Maghaway, need water.

“We are scheduling our rations. We deliver water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays,” she said.

Based on an MCWD advisory, 12 barangays in Talisay have been suffering from low pressure or no water due to the dry spell. These include Lagtang, Camp IV, and Jaclupan, where the Jaclupan weir or small dam is located.

Maghaway is an upland barangay about two kilometers from the city proper. Affected by the lack of water are sitios Babaw, Lawis, Proper, Lower Urban, and Lower Decyam, said barangay captain Victor Cabatas.

A natural spring in another barangay serves as an alternative water source but is not enough for the needs of more than 8,000 residents, Cabatas said.

He said they will ask Talisay City Mayor Johnny V. delos Reyes for assistance.

“We hope that when the mayor receives our resolution and sends water tankers, our situation will improve,” he said in Cebuano.

They will also arrange to buy water from homeowners of the San Jose Maria Village, which has a deep well.

In the meantime, the fire department will send tankers to the affected barangays.

“So far, we still have enough,” said Barrit.

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