Start of water rationing in Surigao due to drought irks consumers

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/07 June)—Some water consumers in the city got mad Friday on the first day of water rationing by the Surigao Metropolitan Water District (SMWD).

The city’s lone water utility scheduled the water rationing beginning at 12 a.m. due to the water crisis brought by drought that hit the area starting last week of April.

But some areas scheduled to have their rations failed to get water supplies.

Rodulfo Ravelo, SMWD officer-in-charge, told MindaNews in a telephone interview that they received complaints from consumers, especially from Barangay San Juan.

The management and the engineering department of SMWD were scheduled to hold a meeting Friday afternoon to improve the distribution of water supply to the consumers.

Cresol Mantong, a resident of Purok Navalca in Barangay San Juan, castigated the water utility after water failed to flow from their faucets despite it was their scheduled ration.

“I got pissed off by the situation because I thought we [would] have water now,” she said.

Noli Abrea, a kagawad or councilor in Barangay Taft, said he waited until 4 a.m. today but still there was no water flowing from their faucets.

“Aside from sleepless nights, this water situation has caused us so much hassles because the water scheduling was not followed on the first day of its implementation. We could have at least two hours of water,” he said.

On Thursday’s regular Sangguniang Panlungsod session, Councilor Baltazar Abian underscored the worsening water situation in the city.

Abian stressed that the city experienced the same problem in the past and questioned why the water provider had not anticipated the situation.

“I don’t know why SMWD did not find a long term solution to this problem,” the visibly disappointed councilor said.

SMWD has divided the water rationing into five groups:

Group 1 comprises barangays Luna, Bonifacio, Rizal, Cagniog, Canlanipa, Poctoy, Quezon, San Roque, Togbongon, and Washington, particularly the areas in Kalipayan, Villa Corito and Bagong Silang. Water rationing for this group, which needs 264 cubic meters per hour, is from 7 p.m to 1 a.m.

Group 2, which needs 330 cubic per hour, is composed of the villages of Taft, San Juan and Washington, particularly the areas of Kaskag, Ceniza Heights, Pag-asa, Bonotan, Capitol Road and the rest of the areas in these barangays. Water rationing for this group is from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Group 3 comprises Trinidad, Sukailang and Anomar. Although Barangay Trinidad is spared from the water interruption, Sukailang will have water from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. while Anomar’s schedule is from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

Group 4 is composed of barangays Mabini, 5 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Mat-I, 6 a.m. to 12 p.m and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Serna, 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Group 5 covers barangays Mabua and Ipil, 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Sabang, 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Punta Bilar and Lipata, 9 a.m to 4 p.m.; and Panubigon, 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Ravelo said they are fast tracking some projects that would augment the water supply, such as in Tamoyo Creek in San Francisco town and Ima Creek in Sison town.

“Aside from these projects, the office is constructing more deep wells in some areas,” he said.

Ravelo said the water crisis was aggravated last Friday due a sudden shut down of a deep well in Barangay Serna, after its generator set conked out.

That deep well, which supplies 20 liters per second, was fixed just today (Friday), he said.

Ravelo added that Parang-Parang Watershed, the only source of potable water in the city, is now considered in an “extreme critical level.”

He said it currently supplies water at 100 liters per second from the normal 270 liters per second.

The water district serves 20,500 subscribers.

Ravelo asked for the cooperation and understanding of consumers about the water crisis. (Roel Catoto/MindaNews)