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The city council committee on public utilities chaired by Councilor Teodulfo Lao Jr. conducts an inquiry into the water shortage that has been gripping the city since late September. Answering the executives of the Cagayan de Oro Water District and Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc. (photo by nitz arancon)

Water now enough but not pressure


RIO Verde Water Consortium Inc. significantly increased its supply of treated water to the Cagayan de Oro Water District but problems on the pipeline pressure is keeping it from reaching many households and establishments.

Ladelle Sagrado, COWD spokesperson, said the volume of water from Rio Verde increased to 2,584 cubic meters per hour as of Saturday night.

If Rio Verde could sustain this volume, the supply would be 62,016 cubic meters a day or 22,016 higher than the bulk water supplier’s contractual obligation to the COWD of 40 thousand cubic meters per day.

But Sagrado said the water pressure continued to give the engineers headaches.

Engr. Bienvenido Batar, COWD assistant general manager, said the supply of 2,584 cubic meters per hour is “adequate.”

“However, the pressure at the delivery (point) is practically zero,” the reason why the supply has not reached elevated areas like Lumbia, said Batar.

He said COWD can only pump the water to the elevated areas “but the pressure must at least be 70 psi (pounds per square inch) for us to do that.”

Batar said the ideal delivery pressure the COWD requires is 70 psi so the water supply could be pumped out to elevated areas like Lumbia.

Engr. Edward Tesoro, head of COWD’s production department,  said the COWD can boost the power of its pumping stations depending on the volume of the Rio Verde supply.

“What goes in, boost out. Ingon ana lang ka simple ang atong needs to provide enough water supply to our consumers,” Tesoro said.

While the COWD’s pump in Barangay Balulang can boost the supply of tap water even up to the elevated areas, the water district cannot do this unless Rio Verde would sustain the continuous flow of treated water and provide enough pressure, according to Tesoro.

He said a few barangays in the western areas of the city and Opol, Misamis Oriental would likely still have low pressure or no tap water at all.

“Kung naa man gani low pressure dili gyud kaabot sa Lumbia, Pagatpat, Scions in Canitoan, several areas in Iponan, and Youngsville in Igpit, Barangay Malanang  and Poblacion in Opol, Misamis Oriental,” he said.

Engr. Joffrey Hapitan, Rio Verde senior vice president for operations, said the bulk water supplier installed a P3-million 650-kw flow booster pump to guarantee the continuous flow of at least 40 thousand cubic meters a day with a residual pressure of 50 psi to 70 psi as required by COWD.

But the increased pressure reportedly caused leaks in Rio Verde’s pipeline that the bulk water delivery had to be suspended so repairs could be made on Friday.

Hapitan said he asked the COWD to lower the residual pressure at the off-take point to 20 psi to enable Rio Verde to lower the operating pressure of its booster pump from 300 psi to 250 psi so as to prevent further leaks.

“The pressure at the top is zero,” said Tesoro.

Tesoro said COWD expected an improvement in the water supply to low-lying areas but some elevated areas like Lumbia would need to be served with the use of water tankers.

The Bureau of Fire Protection is helping COWD deliver treated water to some of the badly affected villages.

Insp. Willy Tan, acting fire station commander in Kauswagan, said they were delivering water to over 300 families in the Pagatpat, Camp Evangelista on Patag, Bulua and Lumbia alone.

Tan said the families have been dependent on the BFP for their supply of water.

He said COWD general manager Rachel Beja sent BFP a new letter of request, dated Oct. 8., asking if the bureau could deliver water to these areas. The BFP, he said, sent two fire trucks to deliver 14 thousand liters of water to the villages.

The BFP sourced the water from Macasandig.

“Kining tubiga dili advisable nga para mainum. Kung kinahanglan para mainum, ipabukal lamang sa, kining tubiga para lang sa uban pang panginahanglan na paggamit sa tubig sama sa pagligo, paglaba, etc.,” he said.


About Lito Rulona

Lito Rulona is a veteran newspaperman and broadcaster who covered many of the biggest stories in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental and Northern Mindanao since the early 90s.

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