Surigao City moves to address water shortage

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/04 December) – The city needs to tap additional sources of potable water supply to address periodic shortages and growing demand, participants to the two-day seminar on water resource management that opened Wednesday said.

“Surigao City is growing steadily; water demand from households and industry is increasing. SMWD is concerned about the future sustainable water supply,” Benjamin R. Ensomo Jr., general manager of Surigao Metropolitan Water District (SMWD) said.

Ensomo told the participants the seminar can help SMWD in finding solutions to meet the demand among consumers in the next 20 years and beyond.

The seminar was supported by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ-Conflict Sensitive Resource and Assessment Management).

Anke Steinel, development worker GIZ and technical advisor to SMWD said that the current water supply of at least 21, 000 cubic meters per day is enough to service the current 21,000 households.

Steinel said the number of households increased from 16,000 in the year 2010 to 21,000 this year.

She added that that by 2020, local water demand will increase by about 20 percent, or 25,125 cubic meters per day.

Surigao City had been experiencing shortage of water supply every year especially during the dry season.

Among the immediate solutions the water utility has been undertaking is tapping sources other than the Parang-Parang Watershed. These include Ima creek and Cabanes creek in Sison town and the Tamoyo creek in Magtangale in San Francisco town in Surigao del Norte.

Lilibeth T. Filoteo, water resources division manager of SMWD, said Parang-Parang watershed, the main source of water source in the City and other sources has a total water yield of at least 21,000 cubic meters per day.

Filoteo said water supply was still enough during “normal” days but they were looking for more sources to augment the demand during dry season.

Steniel said that since the city has been relying on surface water it will always experience shortage of water supply if it doesn’t rain for a few days.

“Aside from looking other possible water sources, SMWD is utilizing other creeks,” she said.

She added water sources in the city are being threatened by both mining and logging activities.

Albert Labrador, who works with the Surigao del Norte Non-Governmen Organization Coalition for Development Inc., said SMWD and the people of Surigao should come up with the best possible solutions saying water is life.

“I couldn’t imagine what will be the impact to consumers if industries will come in Surigao City,” he said.

Ava Villareal, who represented the Surigao Consumer Welfare Group, said she expects an action plan for sustainable water supply in the city in the next few years. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)