DRY like the desert, the Jaclupan Facility of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) is not its usual self at this time of the year.
Averaging only 21,000 cubic meters (cu. m.) per day, this is the facility’s lowest daily production in 10 years in the month of November, which is the month with the most number of times that had the highest volume available, according to MCWD’s Production Data from 2010 to 2019.
Officially known as the Mananga Phase I Project, the MCWD Jaclupan Facility in Talisay City is a P770-million water supply improvement project designed to catch, impound and pump out 33,000 cu. m. of water per day.
Completed in 1998, the Jaclupan Facility includes 15 wells, a seven-meter mini dam or diversion weir, as well as sedimentation and infiltration facilities.
It supplies water to MCWD consumers in Talisay City up to central Cebu City through 6,000 meters of raw water transmission mainlines and 43 kilometers of distribution and transmission pipelines.
It is recharged by the runoff from the Mananga River, which sources water from the rivers, springs and tributaries in the Mananga Watershed.
Every summer, its production decreases due to the absence of rainfall or below average rainfall volume.
Weather bureau Pag-asa records show that in August and September 2019, Central Visayas had rainfall volumes reaching only about 50 percent of the average for the said months.
MCWD records show that historically this is the time when Jaclupan Facility’s volume recovers after the dry spell or summer months, which usually is from March to May. But this did not happen this year. Rains only exceeded the average in October due to a low pressure area.
However, as of the middle November 2019, Pag-asa measured a rainfall volume of 27.6 millimeters (mm) while the average is 154.4 mm, indicating a still very huge deficit in the badly needed rain for Central Visayas.
“Nihit ang uwan kay ang bagyo ang apekto wala siya sa Visayas, particularly sa Cebu. Unya ang ulan sad kay dili kaayo daghan karong Nobyembre (Rainfall in the Visayas was scarce, particularly in Cebu. Also, there hasn’t been much rain this November),” said Al Quiblat, Pagasa Cebu Weather Bureau chief.
Only three months of the first 10 months of the year had normal or near normal rainfall. The rest suffered below average rainfall.
“Adtong niaging buwan, above normal baya ta, daghan tag uwan pero previous months ato kay dako kayta ni decrease sa atong uwan so ninihit gyud. Nagkuwang jud atong uwan this year (In October, it was above normal because there was a lot of rain. However, in the previous months, the volume of rainfall was drastically down. There hasn’t been much rain this year),” Quiblat said.
However, Quiblat said there is a possibility that rainfall will reach near normal level before the year ends because of upcoming weather disturbances.
“We’ve spotted a tropical storm. It’s still outside the Philippine Area of Responsibility so we’re hoping it won’t downgrade when it enters the country. There’s a 57 percent chance that its tracks will include the Visayas based on history records. It may bring in the much needed rainfall. So we may be able to meet the average volume of rainfall for the month of November,” he said in Cebuano.
MCWD has an average daily production of 238,000 cu. m. per day.
Starting in August, it has lost over 20,000 cu. m. per day in its daily production due to the shutdown of the wells and sources of its private suppliers because of saltwater intrusion and plant problems.
MCWD’s own sources also were affected by the inadequate rainfall volume and unregulated extraction in its service area. To lower the supply-demand gap, MCWD is developing new wells and bidding out bulk supply projects.
Meanwhile, Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas released a press statement on the matter:
“First of all, MCWD and the Talisay City Government have no counter measures to know the right amount of water they are producing or unable to produce. First of, we need to have counter measures because the City does not know how much water they are getting from Talisay City. After meeting with MCWD, we agreed to form a team tasked to coordinate solely with MCWD regarding all water concerns, whether it be complaints by residents or any other concern. We all need to know the real numbers. They told us they get 50 cu. m. of water in the last meeting. In the press release, it’s 33,” he said in his statement. (PR, WITH FMD / PJB)