Salceda to ask Php50M from DILG to address water shortage in Albay island

LEGAZPI CITY, July 3 (PNA) — In an effort to provide safe drinking water to residents in the waterless island of Cagraray in Bacacay town, Albay, Governor Joey Salceda is seeking a Php50-million fund from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to develop the water source in Barangay Tanagan that can supply potable water to the village and surrounding communities.

Salceda’s move came as the people of Cagraray Island, specifically the villagers of Cabasan, are hardly getting safe drinking water after springs, rivers and wells dried up due to the erratic climate.

The PNA earlier reported the present difficulties of the people affected by the adverse impact of the changing climate that has hit the island for the past few months now wherein even the vast tracks of rice fields have turned barren due to the absence of rain.

The continuing dry spell in the island due to climate change has caused apprehension among the village folk as it might again bring about water-borne diseases that caused fatalities in the island a few years back.

“There has been a perennial water supply problem in Cagraray Island and this problem is being worsened by the worse-than-projected dry spell experienced by the whole region. This resulted in longer queuing time for residents,” Salceda said.

Cagraray Island is composed of 26 barangays and the place was declared by then President Fidel V. Ramos as an eco-tourism destination.

It is now an emerging tourism site where the Misibis Bay Resort and Casino is located.

In a report of Dr. Nathaniel Rempillo, provincial health officer, to Salceda, he said most of the barangays have level 2 water systems which ensure clean and safe water.

“The water purification machine cannot function in the Cagraray ecosystem because there are no large volumes of water source that can supply the logistical needs of the machine and we cannot distribute safe water because of the geographical location of these barangays,” Rempillo said.

The public health officer visited six villages out of 26 barangays in Cagraray Island where he uncovered the limited sources of drinking water in the areas of Napao, with 407 households but only one functional spring during dry season; Cabasan, 445 households, with level 2 water sources but some springs have dried up; Pongco, 253 households, with only one developed spring; and San Pablo, 288 households, with water table source that is too deep and needs drilling of water source.

Barangay Busdac has 262 households, with level 1 and level 2 water system; while Barangy Namanday had 275 households whose source of water is a shallow well.

The six villages visited by Rempillo are all scouting for possible water sources.

He said at least 1,030 households are directly affected, out of 6,434 households in Cagraray Island.

Earlier, Roger Barrameda, the village chieftain of Cabasan, told the PNA that the dry spell was affecting the whole island of Cagraray.

He said there are three possible water sources in barangays Tanagan, Cagraray and Cagbulacao that can be developed to provide safe drinking water to the whole island.

To develop these sources, however, Barrameda said, the government needs about Php 100 million to provide safe drinking water to 35,000 residents.

To address this pressing problem, Salceda will be seeking the DILG’s help through RDC to allocate Php 50 million.

“We are proposing for a DILG funding of Php 50 million worth of Level 3 water system for Barangay Tanagan and this can supply all the barangays in Cagraray Island,” Salceda said.

Similarly, the governor directed the PHO here to conduct training and information education campaign on water sanitation and hygiene in all barangays in Cagraray wherein the participants will be barangay health workers, barangay officials, barangay health aides and community health teams. (PNA)