By Mike Baños
If the Cagayan de Oro City Water District had its way, every household in Cagayan de Oro would soon be enjoying a round the clock supply of clean, safe and potable water.
During ground breaking rites for a new pipeline held August 3 at Barangay Camaman-an, COWD Chairman of the Board of Directors Eduardo Montalvan said the water district is targeting a 24/7 water supply for every household regardless of their location in the city.
“We have been receiving complaints from various parts of the city that water supply is only available during certain times of the day,” Montalvan said in Bisayan. “With this project, we are striving to catch up to make sure water supply is available to anyone in the city during all times of the day.”
COWD officials joined Mayor Oscar S. Moreno and officials of the Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water, Inc. (COBI), Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC), Metro Pacific Water and barangay officials in ground breaking rites for the nine kilometer pipeline which aims to deliver 20,000 million liters of water daily (MLD) by 2019 to COWD’s East Service Area and 40 MLD a year after.
“But this is not the end; we still have more projects to implement after this. Now we are catching up with the progress of the rest of the city, we will try even harder to keep pace and stay ahead by providing clean and safe water for all residents of the city,” Montalvan assured.
Improved water supply and pressure
At present, COWD has estimated water demand in the East Service Area at 114.456MLD which is barely covered by its 17 production wells in Barangays Bugo, Agusan, Tablon, Macasanding and Nazareth.
With the commissioning of the new pipeline, total supply for the East Area is expected to increase by 17.5% to 134.456MLD with an additional 20MLD from the COBI bulk water plant in Baungon, Bukidnon and further by 15% with an additional 20MLD by 2020.
However, Jose Ma. K. Lim, CEO of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. which is underwriting the P251-million project which also includes the retrofitting and waterproofing of the 5,300 cu.m. Camaman-an Reservoir, said it’s possible the project would be completed sooner than expected.
“This project will start with the improving of water distribution to the city’s east service area by 2019. Actually we’re targeting October of 2018, and progress to a long-term and sustainable water distribution system that will ultimately lead to a better quality of life for the residents,” Lim said.
“The facility is expected to add 20 million liters of treated, potable water daily for the benefit of the East Service Area barangays from Lapasan to Tablon, including Camaman-an during the first year of operation, and in the second year we will add another 20 MLD. This will bring the bulk water capacity to 100 MLD to be available to the water district, from the bulk water company.”
“Only recently we increased the capacity from 40MLD to 60MLD, so you can look forward to almost doubling it by 2019. With this increased supply we can expect the improvement in pressure as well,” Lim explained.
Current supply to the West Service Area from eight COWD production wells in Barangays Cala-anan and Balulang has been pegged at 31.824MLD which with the previous bulk water from COBI of 40MLD was barely sufficient to cover the 71.824 MLD demand from concessionaires in the area.
However, the recent addition of 20MLD from COBI has increased the available water supply 28% to 91.824MLD and has stabilized the pressure and supply such that residents in elevated areas now have improved water supply during most of the day. As built, the COBI water treatment plant can deliver up to 100MLD to COWD, and even more should future expansions be undertaken.
“We wish to thank Metro Pacific Water for being our partner in our bid to improve the services of the COWD. We would never have been able to do this project alone due to our limited resources. Thanks to them, we can now look forward to the improved water supply in our city,” Montalvan noted.
“Thanks to God, our water supply has now been stabilized in our West Service Area, and with this project, we can look forward to the improvement of our water supply in the East Service Area, “he added.
On top of the additional bulk water supply coming from COBI, COWD also expects to improve its present production figures from its production wells as it continues to implement additional measures under its Non-Revenue Water Project started in the last quarter of 2015.
From a peak of 59.23% in February 2011, the NRW project has already reduced COWD’s systems losses to 49% as of June 2018. Based on the total current daily output of its 25 wells of 146.280MLD, the 10% improvement in NRW approximates a 14.63MLD increment in reduced losses directly translatable to additional production sufficient for 36,000 households. Additional production wells are also expected to start operations within the next quarter.
“Our aim at COBI is simple: it is to improve the access to clean water of Kagay-anons by supplying clean and safe bulk water to the water district. By improving both supply and pressure we will have moved closer to achieving our main objective: the improvement of the quality of life of the Kagay-anons,” Lim stressed. COBI is a joint venture between Metro Pacific Water and COWD.
Metro Pacific Water COO Mikkel Gutierrez reiterated the Metro Pacific’s group commitment to improving the quality of life in all areas where it operates.
“Metro Pacific believes that access to safe water is a basic human need and a fundamental human right. We operate to assure and ensure existing facilities, so that everyone in the area we operate will have access to clean and safe water.”
Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno acknowledged the import and historicity of the ground breaking event for the city’s future.
“This is a breakthrough and milestone which will propel Cagayan de Oro to a greater advantage that we really deserve. I cannot thank MPW and COWD enough for doing what should have been done 20 years ago when CDO was starting to grow,” Moreno said.
“Now we have this chance to rectify the past. Cagayan de Oro will never be a team without the water district. The water district is very, very essential. In the same manner that all other utilities are essential. We need the COWD to grow; we need the COWD to be even ahead of the city’s growth.”
Indeed, the savings attained with COWD’s NRW Project together with 60 MLD more coming from COBI could well exceed the projected production of COWD of 246.28MLD by 2020, more than sufficient to cover the demands of its projected 21,000 new connections and increased demand from commercial and business concessionaires over the next five years.
Gutierrez reiterated Metro Pacific Water’s commitment as a development contributor and partner for the upkeep of Cagayan de Oro’s rank as one of the Top Ten Most Competitive Cities in the Philippines over the next decade.
“We believe this 600 millimeter steel pipe to be laid along the South Diversion Road of Barangays Indahag, Macasandig and Camaman-an, together with the retro-fitting and water proofing of the 5,300 cu. m. Camaman-an Reservoir, will improve water pressure, leading to improved water distribution in an impactful way, and lead to an improvement in the quality of life for all Kagay-anons,” he stressed.
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