Cebu City plans to build rainwater impounding facilities

·2 min read

THE Cebu City Government is eyeing to construct rainwater impounding facilities as a possible solution to the city's flooding problem during heavy rains.

Councilor Jerry Guardo, chairman of the committee on infrastructure, told SunStar Cebu on Sunday, August 14, 2022, that research is now being conducted to determine feasible areas for the proposed project.

The water that will be stored in the facility can be sold to the Metropolitan Water District (MCWD) for processing to make it potable, he said.

"We are also aggressively conducting research studies for the possible construction of the impounding facility. Ang tubig gikan sa bukid, maka identify ta og lot nga didto sila i-impound," said Guardo. (The water from the mountains, we can identify a lot where it will be impounded.)

Aside from MCWD, the city government is also opening its doors to private partners who are willing to build the water impounding facility.

Guardo also said the city government is now enforcing the ordinance that requires those who apply for a building permit to include rainwater tanks in their structures.

The councilor explained that this can reduce the volume of water that will go directly to the drainage system during downpours.

"The water stored in the rainwater tanks can be recycled to be used in watering the plants or for washing vehicles," Guardo said in Cebuano.

Guardo added that the size and number of water tanks that should be installed are calculated based on the area of the structure.

The installation of rainwater tanks was made mandatory through an ordinance passed in 2006, but this was not fully implemented due to a lack of personnel in the Office of the Building Official to monitor its enforcement.

City Ordinance 2103 requires proponents of residential, commercial, and industrial building projects with project cost exceeding P250,000 to construct rainwater tanks or cisterns on their properties.

Talk of having a water impounding facility is not new.

The idea of building a large-scale one, a dam, was resurrected last month when Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said he would request President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to include the construction of a dam in the city among the National Government’s flagship projects.

Rama said this in response to MCWD’s announcement that it would hike its water rates by 60 percent in July 2023, with another 10 percent adjustment in 2024.

Calling the increase “rather unreasonable,” Rama lobbied for the dam again, the idea of which has been bandied about for 30 years, saying collecting Cebu’s abundant rainfall would result in a surplus in supply and lower rates for consumers.