City Hall continues to ration water to ‘unconnected’ villages

Photo from Mayor Jerry Treñas Facebook page

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

The “Oplan Bulig Tubig Sa Syudad,” or the rationing of Iloilo City city-procured water, will continue since some villages, particularly those not connected to the distribution network or draw water from wells, are still experiencing water shortages despite the state weather bureau’s declaration of the onset of the rainy season.

“Though the rainy season has started, we are not yet out of the woods because some of our residents still experience water shortage, thus we continue to deliver free water,” said General Services Office head Engr. Neil Ravena.

Rationing to areas and households with no connection to Metro Pacific Iloilo Water (MPIW), the major water distribution utility of Iloilo City, continues even as the latter’s supply has stabilized because of the rainy season.

MPIW’s supply is at its normal operating level of 81MLD since the start of the rainy season, ensuring improved water availability to 30,000 customers in Iloilo City alone.

The city government’s data showed that of the 180 villages, 49 have already been served by the water rationing since it commenced on May 15.

Ravena said the city government has already delivered and distributed a total of 7,217,950 liters of water to thousands of households in the city affected by water scarcity brought by the El Niño phenomenon.

City Hall assigned MPIW to deliver in Molo and Arevalo districts, around 30% of the total target of the Bulig Tubig Program.

The other 70 percent is assigned to another utility, South Balibago Water, Inc. (SBWI).

The City Hall data indicated that residents from the City Proper received the largest bulk of delivery at 25 percent or 85,150 liters, followed by La Paz with 21.4 percent or 36,000 liters, and Lapuz with 17.9 percent or 44,000 liters.

According to City Hall data of June 19, MPIW delivered 59,500 liters of water while SBWI delivered 169,150 liters.

Reports from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office indicated that recipients of the rationing are areas not connected to the distribution system or draw water from wells which were affected by the prolonged dry season.

It has also been observed that static tanks stationed in the barangays where free water is delivered are not quickly consumed, thus affecting the delivery reports.

MPIW had reported that the rains improved water levels in its main sources and came as a relief following the challenges posed by the El Niño phenomenon, which had resulted in reduced water availability and an alternate days water supply schedule.

With the weakening of El Niño and the onset of rains in June 2024 increasing raw water sources, MPIW implemented water network adjustments, reverted back to its normal supply schedule scheme ensuring that customers will have longer water supply availability every day.

Iloilo City declared an El Niño state of calamity on  April 22 due to water shortage following a recommendation of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The declaration has authorized the city government to utilize its proposed budget of P12,544,200 from the quick response fund. The funds were used to procure 696,900 liters of water, with the cost per cubic meter priced at P200.

The city government is yet to lift the state of calamity declaration.