By NITZ ARANCON
THE Manny V. Pangilinan-controlled Cagayan de Oro Bulk Water Inc. (Cobi) continued to suffer setbacks after setbacks as it works to increase its daily deliveries to the water district.
Its deliveries have remained at 40 million liters a day at most, 20 million liters short of the volume it promised to provide the Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD).
Cobi’s engineers at the water treatment plant in Baungon town in Bukidnon found themselves scratching their heads as worn-out parts of the facility ground to a halt one after another.
The facility was operated by the Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc., a firm owned by Palawan Gov. Jose Alvarez, for years until the firm and COWD agreed to terminate their decade-old bulk water supply contract in December. Cobi took over as COWD’s bulk water supplier, and the Rio Verde plant in Baungon town on New Year’s Day.
The problem with the Baungon plant became more pronounced in late April when COWD announced that repairs needed to be undertaken by Cobi because of delivery lines damaged during the onslaught of storm “Vinta” in December. A pipe across the Cagayan River in Taguanao, this city, was repaired.
COWD said it was expecting the water supply in the western areas of the city to normalize by May 15. But then, a booster pump at the water treatment facility in Pualas, Baungon, bogged down.
Cobi reportedly added another booster pump in the hopes of increasing the delivery of treated water from 40 million liters to 60 million liters by June 15. That did not happen.
COWD general manager Bienvenido Batar Jr. said Cobi subsequently suffered another setback because of leaks in the mechanical seal of the booster pump.
“Na-a man toy ilang gita-od nga booster pump nga dugang, unya na-a kunoy mechanical seal nga nag-leaking. So, gipulihan sa supplier, dangtan og mga two to three weeks kuno ang kinahanglanon nga panahon para ma-ship to’g balik sa supplier,” Batar said in an earlier interview.
But just as Cobi finished fixing the leaking mechanical seal, an electrical motor that powers the booster pump bogged down apparently because of a worn-out shaft.
Despite this latest setback, Batar said Cobi promised to deliver 60 million liters a day before July.
Based on the 2017 agreement between COWD and the Pangilinan group, Cobi was supposed to supply 60 million liters of treated water daily to COWD for western areas of the city, including Opol town in Misamis Oriental, as early as January.
Cobi’s failure has resulted in a water crisis in many areas — from low water pressure to complete absence of tap water.
Batar confirmed that elevated areas in the western parts of the city and in Opol town were the most problematic.