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Moreno assures water supply despite El Niño

As the mild El Niño event continues to dry up farmlands and creeks all over the country, Cagayan de Oro residents can relax with the assurance of a continued potable water supply.
“I am pleased to reassure our people that both ground and surface water sources of the Cagayan de Oro City Water Distract (COWD) are at stable levels,” said Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar S. Moreno in a press statement last week. “Thus, the water in COWD’s wells is at stable levels, and so is the water level of the Bubunawan River, where the bulk water supply to COWD is sourced.”
Moreno said COWD General Manager Bienvenido V. Batar, Jr. informed him that the recently implemented 40 million liters daily (MLD) augmentation of the water for distribution to the eastern side of the city by COWD bulk water supplier Cagayan de Oro Bulkwater, Inc. (COBI) has stabilized water supply in the latter area.
“I am also pleased to advise our people that, historically, as per COWD’s Engr Jong Batar, our abovementioned water sources have maintained stable levels even during past El Niño seasons. Let us thank the Almighty for this blessing,” he added. “Nevertheless, I would still urge everyone to save water at all times.”
Households in the COWD’s East Service Area now enjoy improved water supply and pressure following COBI’s commissioning and turnover of the rehabbed Camaman-an reservoir last November, 2018.
“In conjunction with the additional supply from COBI through the East Pipeline, COWD will be better able to serve the Eastern part of our service area specially during peak demand,” Batar noted. 
“Besides also harnessed another water source from a recently completed deep well in Camaman-an,” he added. 
With a storage capacity of 5,300,000 liters, the facility boosted water supply and pressure in barangays Camaman-an, Gusa, and Lapasan, specially within the Limketkai Center central business district. 
The P26 million Retrofitting and Waterproofing revived the facility after it has lain idle for the past few years. 
The new pipeline and reservoir to improve water pressure and supply to the East Service area was originally planned for completion by June 2019 was completed ahead of schedule. 
The new facility will initially supply an additional 20 million liters daily (MLD) of treated potable water to benefit the East Service Area from Barangays Lapasan to Tablon, (including Camaman-an) during its first phase, to be augmented by an additional 20 MLD during the second phase. 
“The reactivation of this facility will help address the increasing demand for water supply in Cagayan de Oro City,” said Rodrigo O. Yabut, COBI general manager. 
By the middle of this year, some 50,000 households or an estimated 300,000 people stand to benefit from a new pipeline that will service the COWDS’s East Service Area from Barangays Lapasan to Bugo.
“The ongoing project is laying a 600 millimeter (mm) steel pipeline along the South Diversion Road in Barangays Taguanao, Macasandig and Camaman-an, which will carry treated water from the COBI bulk water treatment plant in Baungon, Bukidnon to the eastern part of the service area,” Batar said.
“Ultimately, this pipeline will carry 40 MLD and increase our capability to deliver water service to areas such as Taguanao, Mandumol, Upper Cugman, Upper Gusa, and Camaman-an.”
“This will also help us balance the existing supply from Macasandig and Bugo, and hopefully improve water service in the entire eastern part of the city,” Batar added.
Total cost for the nine kilometer pipeline and the Camaman-an Reservoir retrofitting and waterproofing is estimated at P251-million.
The project will be entirely underwritten by Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MWIC) but will be turned over to and operated by COWD upon its completion under its joint venture COBI. 
The new facility is expected to initially supply an additional 20 million liters daily (MLD) of treated potable water to benefit the East Service Area from Barangays Lapasan to Tablon, (including Camaman-an) during the first year of operations, to be augmented by an additional 20 MLD during the second year.
Meantime, Moreno said he has also directed COWD and the City Engineer’s office to collaborate to determine the status of the city’s agricultural lands and non-COWD water systems, for the purpose of advising city hall on the needed interventions to mitigate the impact of the El Niño.
COWD has previously undertaken various expansion projects to improve water supply to existing and heretofore unserved and underserved areas of the city.
Its Phase I improvements with a P32M loan from the Local Water Utilities Administration 
(LWUA) completed in 1978 included the construction of the Macasandig Booster Pumping Station, Bugo Pumping Station and wells, and transmission lines, enabling COWD to provide water to the residents of Gusa, Cugman, Kauswagan, Bayabas, Bonbon, Patag and Bulua.
In 1983, COWD’s water services reached barangays Balulang, Calaanan and Mandumol with the P95M-worth Phase II Improvement Project, followed by a third phase initiated in 1996 and completed in 2005. 
This included the drilling of 22 deep wells; construction of 12 pumping stations and 3 reservoirs; purchase of 17 standby power generators; laying out of 23-kilometer steel transmission pipes and 69-kilometer uPVC distribution pipes and installation of 26,000 service connections. 
This phase added 70 MLD to its water production and enabled COWD to serve another 203,000 people or 46,200 households in Cagayan de Oro City and the nearby municipality of Opol .
Not the least, COWD entered into a Bulk Water Supply Agreement with Rio Verde Water Consortium which started providing an additional 40MLD in 2007. 
In August 15, 2017, COWD entered into a joint venture agreement with MetroPac Water Investments Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) for the formation of a joint venture company to undertake the supply of bulk treated water to address the increasing demand of Cagayan de Oro City.
The P2.8-Billion project covers the construction of new water transmission lines, rehabilitation of Camaman-an reservoir, and the delivery of bulk treated water to serve the city’s western side which previously relied solely on deep wells for its water supply. 
The project has a term of 30 years, renewable for another 20 years, and involves the supply of up to 100 MLD of treated bulk water, as well as construction of transmission lines and rehabilitation of the Camaman-an Reservoir to supply the COWD, which currently has about 90,000 service connections. (RMB)

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