Water shortage in Surigao City worsens

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/04 June) –  Insufficient water supply has worsened since Sunday, forcing residents to draw water from springs and wells.

Rolen Indino, liaison officer of Surigao Metropolitan Water District (SMWD) said they can’t do anything because the limited water supply, he said, is due to the drought.

Water shortage has been felt in the city since the last week of April.

Indino told MindaNews in a telephone interview that water demand peaked this week because classes started on Monday.

He said they resorted to water rationing bu the supply remains insufficient. The city needs at least 19,000 cubic meters per day.

Last week, SMWD supplied 13 thousand cubic meters to the city, according to Benjamin R. Ensomo, Jr., general manager of SMWD.

Indino said the supply dropped dramatically beginning Saturday due to the drought.

Adriano Lopez, SMWD’s chief supervising officer of Engineering Department said theParang-Parang watershed is currently producing 100 liters per second.

He said this supply is extremely critical, adding that this will drop to 90 or even lower in the next couple of days if the drought continues.

He said Parang-Parang has a normal capacity supply of 270 liters per second, enough to supply 19,000 thousand consumers.

SMWD relies on the surface water flowing at the 967-hectare Parang-Parang Watershed.

Lopez said the city needs rain especially in the mountains.

In the regular session of the Provincial Board on Monday,  board member Regina Alaan asked the Committee on Public Utilities to call the attention of SMWD’s management to answer their queries.

Alaan said she received a letter from the SMWD but could not understand some of the contents in the letter.

Board members Sim Castrence and Mamerto Galanida urged SMWD officials to send a representative in the next session on Monday. They said they hope  SMWD head, Engr. Benjamin R. Ensomo, Jr. appears in session so that they can draw up immediate solutions to the water shortage.

SMWD is working on water sources in the towns of Sison and San Francisco to  generate at least 240 liters per second. But this would reportedly take at least four to five months before it could be operational.

It is also doing a feasibility study on the proposed 200,000 cubic meter impounding dam to be constructed at the foot at the Parang-Parang watershed to ensure a stable water supply for the city.

Some areas in city have had no water flowing from their faucets since Sunday afternoon while others have had no water for six days.

Lolong Biol of Sitio Payawan said they have had no water in the last three days

“From April to May, there was still water although it was available  late at night but now it has become worse because there is no drop at all. I have kids to send at school and they need to take a bath daily,” he said.

Biol, whose house is on higher ground, draws water from his neighbor’s house which is located on lower ground. But fetching water takes so long because of the long queue and the limited flow.

Some residents fetch water in other areas like Sitio Balibayon and Sitio Bioborjan in Barangay Rizal, Barangay Poctoy, Kilometer 6 in Barangay Luna and Barangay Lipata.

Hycee Sta. Iglesia of Barangay Washington, said she and her entire family have been going to Sitio Balibayon for three days now, carrying containers to draw water from a spring. They have also been taking a bath and washing their clothes there.  (Roel Catoto/MindaNews)