State of calamity in Virac over lack of water
posted 27-Aug-2018  ·  
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Mayor Samuel Laynes has urged a declaration of a state of calamity in the capital town of Virac due to the worsening lack of potable water in many barangays.

The decision was made Monday afternoon (Aug. 20) during a hastily-called meeting of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council at the mayor’s office.

According to official sources, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) is not confident that the start of the “ber” months just nine days away will being much-needed rain to the parched island.

The weathermen told the council that the region is just in the middle of the “habagat” or southwest monsoon season when the rains are concentrated in the western section of the archipelago and none or very little reaches the eastern side of the country.

The mayor’s hand was likewise forced by the report from barangay leaders concerning deep well pumps running dry, preventing even their own elevated water tanks from storing water.

Prior to the declaration, the management of the Virac Water District implemented a water rationing program in a bid to force water supply to reach elevated areas where residents have long been deprived of the regular supply of the life-giving liquid.

While the Cauayan source up in the mountains of Calatagan area has maintained its output of 30 liters per second, the dry weather has caused the Padurog source to drop to a mere 3 liters per second and the Sibanhan source to fall by 40 percent.

Although there is good news by December with the completion of the DPWH-funded second transmission line and new intake tank at Cauayan, VIWAD maintains the best scenario would be water rationing until such time the project, as well as another plan to dig a new well at the CSU pumping station, is completed.

Already, the water district has enlisted the services of the water truck of the Virac MDRRM Office to help its own water truck in bringing water to the thirsty residents in many barangays. With the water crisis continuing to worsen, it would need more than the two trucks to deliver the precious liquid to those who need it.

The mayor’s emergency declaration, which would have to be concurred by the Sangguniang Bayan, would enable the local government not only to use calamity funds to address the situation but more importantly to seek assistance from the national government and other agencies.

For instance, after typhoon Nina battered the southern towns of Catanduanes in December 2016, the Philippine Red Cross sent in two water tankers, water bladders and a portable filtration system that were used by local Red Cross volunteers in ensuring that the stricken victims would have water.

These and other equipment, along with other appropriate measures that the Laynes administration would implement, would be of much help in the next few months while the entire island waits for the rainy season to come.

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