Booming Legazpi City needs more water; local distributor helpless

Booming Legazpi City

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 8 (PNA) -- By 2016, the Bicol Region’s capital investment hub, Legazpi City, will be facing higher demand for fresh water owing to increasing population and booming business establishments, the spokesman of the Legazpi City Water District (LCWD) on Sunday said.

The LCWD supplies the water need of the Legapi City residents.

Richard Atun, LCWD spokesperon, said that since 2013, Legazpi City has been experiencing water scarcity due to increasing number of consumers coupled with growing businesses.

“Every year, Legazpi City’s population and the construction of business establishments rise. By 2016. Legazpi will be needing 30,000 cubic centimeters per day of water. Unfortunately we lack about 5,000 to 6,000 cubic meters today as the Maynilad Water-owned PhilHydro Corp. cannot provide the 26,000-cubic-meter volume requirement of the consumers per day,” Atun said.

The PhilHydro has a contract with the LCWD to supply the latter with 20,000 cubic meters per day.

Legazpi City is the regional hub of Bicol Region where the seat of national government agencies is located, center of tourism and trade and commerce as well as university area.

There are four water sources in this city located in barangays Pawa, Mabinit, Bonga and Buyuan but these water sources can not provide sufficient supply.

Atun said the current 25,000 water consumers’ demand is expected to increase from 26,000 to 28,000 cubic meters but PhilHydro has been short of 5,000 to 6,000 cu. m. water supply to consumers since 2013.

“Yearly, we increase by 1,000 cu. m. in water requirement but the source remain the same as the water sources are not expanding, resulting in low pressure requirement. Maynilad cannot deliver the required supply of 28,000 cu. m. per day specifically during peak hours,” he said.

Due to this, the villages of Maoyod, Cabugao, Tula-Tula and upper areas in Legazpi City are experiencing poor water supply and worse, there is no drop of water during peak hours from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and at 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in these areas.

Atun said they are looking for other possible sources of water in Bagong Abre, Bigaa and Pawa villages for water supply to provide sustainable drinking need to the public.

He said, however, that the water deficiency is not alarming as the fresh water supply in this city is not critical even with dry spell.

“Our fresh water is not critical. We have sources and there is no reason for us to be alarmed. We have standby pump in Yawa to get water from the river passing through water filtration machine," the LCWD official said.

The Maynilad Water Services Inc. (Maynilad) bought the Philippine Hydro Inc. (PhilHydro) in October 2012 and has been implementing Php19.5 million worth of initial projects and facilities to improve water quality and supply to consumers.

The PhilHydro, which is now managed by Maynilad, entered an agreement with the LCWD in March 2007 to supply bulk water for a period of 25 years.

Its operation in this city had been tainted with controversy after a study of the University of the Philippines Natural Sciences and Research Institute (UP-NSRI) found out that the water provided by the firm to LCWD did not conform with the Philippine National Standard for Drinking Water (PNSDW).

The study found out that the water being supplied contained high levels of magnesium, and hardness (calcium carbonate) which were beyond the 500 acceptable mg/l total dissolved solids (TDS) prescribed by the Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water.

Due to this, the city government of Legazpi under then mayor Geraldine Rosal immediately revoked the business permit of PhilHydro for failure to comply with the prescribed guidelines to ensure clean and safe water supply.

Today, under the new management of Maynilad, the firm can not also deliver and meet the water requirement of the Legazpeños.

Maynilad employs the reverse osmosis process to ensure that the water being supplied in the city’s faucets are clean and safe, however, 40 percent of the 20,000 cu. m. of water that passes through the purifying equipment is wasted, aggravating the water shortage in the upland villages of this city. (PNA) CTB/FGS/RBB/CBD/SSC