4-day water interruption in ‘Surfing Capital’ irks residents

GENERAL LUNA, Siargao Island (MindaNews / 9 Feb) – A four-day water supply interruption in this town has irked residents who rely on the local water utility.

A boy gets water from a manual pump in General Luna in Siargao Island on Thursday (8 February 2018). Groundwater is the main source of water in the town, whose water utility suffered a four-day water interruption because of a busted submersible pump. MindaNews photo by ROEL N. CATOTO

In Barangay Catangnan, the village where the famous surfing destination Cloud Nine is located, some residents were fuming mad after four days with no water coming out from their taps. Catangnan suffered the most because the groundwater is not good for use due to its salinity, according to Alladen G. Villar, officer-in-charge of General Luna Water System, Inc. (GLWSI).

Catangnan resident Rudy Figuron uses a rainwater collector to cope with the water crisis.

“This is an endless problem of our town. This frequent problem is still not solved and this would discourage investors,” he said.

Ruth Versosa, a tourist in Catangnan, found herself buying water at 10 pesos per bucket and carrying the container 100 meters to her quarters.

Villar said the shutdown was due to a damaged submersible pump. Although the water utility initially announced that service would resume Feb. 12, reports said water flowed again as of Friday morning.

GLWSI, which has been operating for three years supplying non-potable water, has about 210 concessionaires. GLWSI is privately owned mainly by Borgy M. Abejo, who is the first cousin of Surigao del Norte 1st District Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas Jr. and nephew of Gov. Sol F. Matugas.

General Luna has 3,847 households with a total population of 16,771 as of 2015, according to Alan D. Cotecson, coordinator of the Municipal Planning and Development Office, quoting data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Most residents reportedly use groundwater for their daily consumption.

But with the influx of tourists in this town, where international surfing competitions are held, it is projected that the need for water will also increase. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)