When it rains, it pours, but not in Surigao City

When it rains, it pours, but not in Surigao City

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/05 January) – It has continuously rained since the last week of December 2010, causing floods in the Caraga Region and other parts of Mindanao and the country.

Ironically, though, residents of Surigao City, one of the areas worst hit by flooding, have been having difficulties getting clean water for domestic use.

Lacking water treatment facility, the city’s supply of potable water has been disrupted by the heavy rains, leaving 16,000 households literally stinking.

Mayor Surigao City Mayor Ernesto T. Matugas expressed displeasure over the problem in a meeting convened to discuss the flooding problem earlier this week.

In the same meeting, Matugas quizzed the inability of the Surigao Metropolitan Water District (SMWD) to maintain water supply at a crucial time.

“Balik-balik ra man ini na problema; unta dapat jaon nay kasulbaran ini (This is a recurring problem; there should be a remedy to this),” Matugas told SMWD general manager Benjamin Ensomo Jr.

The mayor underscored the continuous supply of water during calamities, saying he was determined to find a solution to the problem.

The water problem, which started Sunday afternoon until Tuesday, has sparked frustration among residents who had to make do with stored rainwater.  Others who have no reservoirs were in desperate conditions.

And although connections have been partly restored late Tuesday, water supply has remained unstable as the rains showed no signs of abating as of today.

Ensomo explained that torrential rains caused water turbidity or muddiness at the Parang-Parang watershed zones, prompting them to cut off supply.

Rampant logging and mining activities in the city’s watershed areas mainly caused the turbidity, he said.

“We have to cut the supply because its turbidity is not allowable for public use and we are following the national standards for the safety of general consuming public,” Ensomo explained to the mayor and members of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

Ensomo said the city government can help put up a water treatment facility, which would cost millions.

Residents here had to store rainwater for their own consumption.

Berot Gato, a resident of a hilly portion in Barangay Luna, Surigao City, said she collected rainwater using an improvised catchment.

She said she feels safe having rainwater for daily use than with the murky water provided by SMWD. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)