Treñas fumes over water crisis

Photo from Mayor Jerry Treñas FB page

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor 

City Mayor Jerry Treñas said he is “disappointed” by the performance of the Metro Pacific Iloilo Water (MPIW) as the major water distribution utility of the city and its response to the water crisis caused by the El Nino phenomenon.

“As a consumer […] I am disappointed in our water distributor (MPIW). I was expecting that since it is Metro Pacific Water (MPW), which is a big company, the delivery of water will be swift. But if we will look at it, it seems that the city government is becoming its water boy,” he said in a press conference on Monday, May 20.

Treñas pointed out that MPIW is only contributing 30 percent to the “Oplan Bulig Tubig Sa Syudad” or the rationing of city-procured water which commenced on May 15.

This is significantly lower compared to the 70 percent committed by the South Balibago Waterworks Inc. (SBWI).

As part of the city-procured water rationing, MPIW delivers water to barangays in Arevalo and Molo districts, while the SBWI covers the districts of Jaro, La Paz, Lapuz, Mandurriao, and City Proper.

“When are we going to expect more water from MPIW? They are the water distributor and I think it is incumbent upon them to look for ways and means to add more water to be distributed to the whole city,” he said.

“I was really expecting that they would be able to resolve the water scarcity problem,” he added.

According to Engr. Neil Ravena, head of the General Services Office, they have delivered 107,000 liters of water on the first day, 187,000 liters on the second, and 225,000 liters on the third day from the city-procured water.

The city government targets to deliver 500,000 liters per day across the seven districts of the city.

Treñas said he will schedule a meeting next week with MPIW and SBWI, noting that the areas that the MPIW cannot accommodate will be transferred to the latter.

MPIW is the joint venture company of Metro Iloilo Water District and MPW, with the agreement signed in November 2018 and MPIW commencing its operations in the city in July 2019.

MPIW suffers water shortage

The MPIW, in a statement on Monday evening, said they are experiencing a severe water supply shortage, with the raw water volume of their bulk water suppliers reaching critically low levels.

“Levels have fallen to a degree not seen since Typhoon Frank in 2008,” it said.

The water utility reported that since May 02, the dam water level has dropped from 93.66 to 93.62 meters above sea level, approaching its closest point to the critical level.

Concurrently, the MPIW said its water supply production level has decreased from 57.142 to 56.200 million liters per day (MLD), significantly dipping below the critical level.

“As El Niño persists, the water levels in Aganan River, Maasin Weir, Jalaur River and Tigum River are plummeting at an alarming rate,” it added.

With the prolonged dry spell and rising temperatures, MPIW said bulk water suppliers are only able to deliver an average of 60 MLD to MPIW, which is way below the critical level threshold.

The MPIW said the critical water levels in their bulk water suppliers have significantly impaired their regular water service.

“We take responsibility for our shortcomings. But what is more important for us is to continue working and finding new solutions so that we can fast-track supply recovery,” said Angelo David Berba, MPIW Chief Operating Officer.