VIWAD water rationing to last until December
posted 6-Aug-2018  ·  
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Potable water will continue to be rationed by the Virac Water District to its over 7,000 concessionaires until the end of the year, unless the rainy season comes earlier and provides a steady supply to its three water sources.

This was the best scenario drawn by VIWAD construction and production division manager Engr. Elmer Macenas in an interview with the Tribune last week.

He informed that the district’s Padurog water source is now almost dry as a result of the dry spell during the current “habagat” or southwest monsoon season. Its production has dropped by over 90 percent from the normal 35 liters per second to just 3 lps, Macenas bared.

On the other hand, its biggest source, Sibanhan, also suffered a decrease in production with its normal 48 lps production falling 40 percent to 28 liters per second.

As a result, its 30-lps Cauayan source in the mountains near Calatagan Tibang, and the Catanduanes State University deep well pump, have borne the brunt of the supply deficit. This has not been enough, however, with Cauayan water not reaching the provincial hospital and Imperial Homes Subdivision in San Isidro Village.

The heavy rains that fell on the capital town the other week was good only for one or two days, Macenas said, while the water level at the CSU deep well is deemed to be falling as well, with air reportedly getting pumped out at times.

To distribute water “evenly” to its customers, VIWAD management headed by manager Engr. Luis Surtida and board chairman Gabriel Tejerero has implemented a water service distribution scheme effective July 24, 2018, with “upland” areas like SIV, Calatagan Proper, Calatagan Tibang, Cavinitan, Valencia and Bigaa as well as four residential subdivisions getting water six hours a day at set times.

Just the same, complaints of spotty service during the rationing schedules have been aired while those residing in St. John Village asked for another time slot as majority of the houses are unoccupied during the day with their owners at work and thus unable to store water.

Engr. Macenas reported that the project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) intended to install a second pipeline from a new Cauayan intake tank to the reservoir at sitio Nalnod will be completed by December.

The project has been delayed by the difficult terrain, with the hauling of each bag cement costing as much as the cement itself, a source told the Tribune. The contractor is now welding together the steel pipes, which are secured to mountainside either by concrete anchors or steel cables tied to similar anchors or big trees.

The water district’s counterpart, the section on easier terrain, is being undertaken by a mainland contractor, who only needs a backhoe for the pipe excavation. The PVC pipes to be laid have started arriving, with the project to be completed this October.

With the annual production falling year by year, the VIWAD management is considering the tapping of at least two new water sources - one at Minaridong and the other at Inagasan – with good enough volume for six-inch pipes.

Personnel who climbed to the two sites, however, noted that the illegal cutting of trees inside the watershed continues as evidenced by stumps of cut hardwood and leftover planks in the area. They also met some people carrying cut lumber or containers of gasoline for chainsaws.

To address the falling water level at the CSU deep well pump, VIWAD recently called on qualified contractors to offer their services for the drilling of an exploratory/production well for the amount of P3.4 million.

Only one bidder, a local company, submitted documents but was automatically disqualified for lack of relevant experience. An official source told the Tribune that mainland drillers probably took scant notice due to the low project cost as they will have to bring in a drilling machine.

On the other hand, the district has scaled down its water rationing schedule to thirsty concessionaires. Its water truck is now concentrating on bringing water to Imperial Homes Subdivision and the western part of Cavinitan, as piped water has now reached the other previously served areas due to the water distribution scheme.

The truck has also been used to supply water to several water refilling stations as well as construction companies using jetmatic pumps that have dried up in recent weeks.

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