Legazpi City water supply woes seen to ease up soon

By Bobby Q. Labalan

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov. 13 (PNA) — Residents of this premier Bicol city may soon find relief on their water woes as the water supply company contracted by the Legazpi City Water District (LCWD) to supply its needs may soon pass the potability test required by the City Health Office (CHO) and the Department of Health (DOH).

In an interview with the Philippines News Agency Friday, Mayor Noel Rosal said the Philippine Hydro Inc. (PhilHydro), which is now under the management and control of Maynilad Water, is now almost compliant with the potability requirement set by the CHO and DOH.

“There have been four tests on totally dissolved solids and hardiness and they passed although results are still inconsistent, and we want to further lower it,” Rosal said.

PhilHydro entered into a contract with the LCWD in 2008 for bulk supply of potable water to the local water distributor for a period of 25 years.

Rosal said PhilHydro is now using reverse osmosis and may soon be able to fully comply with the requirements on potability within this month.

“Hopefully by December, we can issue them a mayor’s permit if they will be able to fully comply with the requirements,” Rosal added.

Residents of this city have been complaining about the unhygienic state of the water coming out of their taps, which the mayor confirmed, saying they have adequately informed the public about it.

Rosal also revealed that the company is presently developing a new source which can supply additional 28,000 households, over and above the current 22,000 households with water connections.

He said this will cover the anticipated entry of new shopping malls into the city like SM, Ayala and Robinson’s malls.

He said they are also considering sea water as possible source of additional water to continuously meet the ever-increasing needs of his constituents.

The LCWD had earlier lamented about the failure of PhilHydro to develop new water sources to meet the increasing need of city residents for more water.

Richard Atun, LCWD spokesman, was earlier quoted as saying that PhilHydro has to supply the LCWD with 20,000 cubic meters of water a day but the agreement states that in the succeeding years, production would be increased by 1,000 cubic meters a day.

Based on the agreement, the firm is required to supply LCWD about 27,000 cubic meters of water a day this year, but Atun said, “the water supply being produced and distributed by PhilHydro is below the required volume stipulated in the contract.”

Rosal expressed confidence that these concerns on water quality and supply would soon be resolved with these latest developments.

He lamented the fact that the city was not gifted with abundant natural water sources but assured the public that the city government is doing everything to improve the situation.

The city mayor also gave assurance that water rates would remain unchanged until the issues are fully resolved, saying that any increase in the future would have to undergo public hearing.

Legazpi City has one of the lowest water rates in the region, which has remained the same for the past four years, Rosal said.

He, however, clarified that the company still has to obtain environmental compliance certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) before it can fully operate. (PNA)