Water firm asks Cebu City gov’t to relocate residents downstream of Buhisan Dam

CEBU CITY, Sept. 20 (PNA) — Incessant rains in Cebu raised water at the Buhisan Dam overlooking Cebu City to a critical level, prompting the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) to ask Barangay Buhisan and the city government to relocate families living downstream of the dam.

The dam, which has a capacity of 10,000 cubic meters, first overflowed during last Sept. 15’s heavy downpour.

Rains conitued until Sunday afternoon.

MCWD public affairs department manager Charmaine Kara said the Buhisan barangay council had also requested MCWD to lower the volume of water storage in the dam.

Kara said MCWD had flushed water out of the dam, but the water level continued to rise because it is fed by the tributary rivers and springs.

“That’s why we are urging Buhisan and Cebu City to relocate the families living near the dam and downstream,” Kara said.

Buhisan Barangay Captain Gremar Barete said relocating the residents will take time because of financial constraints.

He also expressed fears about the dam’s safety.

“Considering that the dam is more than 100 years old already, MCWD must know its structural strength to hold bulk water,” he said.

Dr. Eddie Llamedo, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 public information officer, said the DENR and the Central Cebu Protected Landscape-Protected Area Management Board can look into the matter.

“The board has to discuss and deliberate on this with the MCWD, Buhisan officials and the Cebu City Government. Also, we will request MCWD to conduct a silt-risk assessment or inventory so we will know the extent of the silt deposits and eventually plan for the removal or extraction,” Llamedo said.

Llamedo said the activity should be coordinated because it involves desiltation and transport of silt materials.

The transport requires a special hauling permit, he said. (PNA)