MCWD restores 77.7% of water production, Visayan Electric at 37% as Omicron threatens

·3 min read

TWENTY days after Typhoon Odette (Rai) hit Cebu, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) has restored 77.7 percent of its water production through the use of generating sets as well as restored power connections to its pumping stations and bulk water supplier.

The water utility announced that as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, it was already producing 186,461 cubic meters per day of its normal water production of 240,000 cubic meters a day in its franchise area.

As the Omicron variant of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) now threatens the National Capital Region and surrounding provinces, MCWD, as well as the Visayan Electric Company, has worked to also prioritize the restoration of power and water supply to hospitals and other health facilities in Cebu.

Typhoon Odette knocked down power lines, causing a province-wide blackout, which cut the power to water pumping stations and affected water supply.

Visayan Electric has so far restored power to only 37 percent of its affected customers in its franchise area of Cebu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, Naga City and the towns of of Consolacion, Liloan, Minglanilla and San Fernando. But from the start, it has prioritized hospitals, water providers and other vital institutions in its restoration efforts.

As of Jan. 1, Visayan Electric had energized 85 MCWD and 15 Abejo Waters pumping stations.

MCWD has a total of 138 production wells in its service area but only 34 generating sets, said engineer Edgar Ortega, MCWD acting assistant general for operations.

Asked why MCWD did not have more generating sets so that the long lines for water formed by residents after Odette could have been avoided, Ortega said the water district could not make a generating set available for each well; otherwise, they would become white elephants as they are not always needed.

“It is not often that there are long hours of brownout,” Ortega told SunStar Cebu.

The maintenance costs of generating sets is also high, he said.

Another reason not every well can be given a generating set is that “the electrical rating of the genset to be installed will depend on the production capacity of a well. Through the years, the production capacity is reduced, which means the genset will no longer be compatible with the well,” Ortega said.

Engineer Mike Diola, manager of MCWD’s distribution division, said while it had restored water supply to a number of hospitals, “other hospitals have their own wells.”

MCWD serves Cebu City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Talisay City, and the towns of Consolacion, Liloan, Compostela and Cordova.

As of noon of Jan. 5, Visayan Electric had energized 176,679 of its 474,182 affected customers.

Visayan Electric has restored power to the following health facilities in Cebu City: Cebu Doctors’ Hospital, Velez Hospital, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, Cebu Puericulture and Maternity House, Miller Hospital, Cebu City Medical Center and Chong Hua Hospital, Perpetual Succour Hospital, Visayas Community Medical Center, St. Vincent Hospital, Allied Care Experts Medical Center, Cebu North General Hospital, St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital, Ace Medical Center and Sacred Heart Hospital.

In Mandaue City, power is back at the University of Cebu Medical Center, Chong Hua Hospital Mandaue, Eversley Childs Sanitarium and General Hospital, Seamen's Hospital, Maayo Hospital, Dr. Ignacio M. Cortes General Hospital Inc. and Women's and Children's Community Hospital.

Also energized are Mendero Medical Center in Consolacion; Cebu South Medical Center in Talisay City;

San Fernando Health Center and San Fernando Rural Health Unit in San Fernando; Minglanilla District Hospital and San Lucas Health Care Facility in Minglanilla; Liloan's Community Medical Center; and Cebu South General Hospital Inc. and Vicente Mendiola Center for Health Infirmary in the City of Naga.

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