Water rationing ends as VIWAD, DPWH complete new pipeline
posted 5-Jan-2019  ·  
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VIWAD CHAIRMAN. Gabriel Tejerero (right) samples the water flowing out of the new, bigger pipeline completed by the DPWH last week as Mayor Samuel Laynes (center) and VIWAD Directors Ma. Arlene Arcilla and Ronald Oscar Lim watches.

Almost five months of woefully inadequate potable water supply ended last week for thousands of homes in upland Virac after the Virac Water District (VIWAD) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) completed a new, bigger pipeline at its Cauayan source.

Last Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018, Mayor Samuel Laynes, VIWAD Chairman Gabriel Tejerero, and Directors Arlene Arcilla and Ronald Oscar Lim witnessed the first gush of water that flowed out of the 12-inch combined steel-and-PVC pipleline at its terminal point at the Cauayan water filtration facilities at sitio Nalnod in Calatagan-Tibang.

The water, however, was not drinkable as the pipeline had to be flushed of dirt and debris that accumulated inside it during the months of laborious hauling of pipes, cement and aggregates as well as the tedious welding of the steel joints.

After about an hour of flushing, the water was finally allowed to pour into the sedimentation chamber, alongside the existing but smaller pipeline of the same source. This marked an end into the rationing of water that saw concessionaires in San Isidro Village, Calatagan, Calatagan-Tibang, Cavinitan, and Bigaa enduring water service of just six hours daily.

It may be recalled that VIWAD began rationing water after dry weather caused the Padurog source’s production to drop to a mere 3 liters per second and the Sibanhan source to fall by 40 percent, with only the Cauayan source maintaining its output of 30 liters per second.

The drought and high temperatures also prompted the Sangguniang Bayan of Virac to declare a state of calamity last Aug. 20, upon the recommendation of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) headed by Mayor Laynes.

This allowed the Philippine Red Cross, through Chairman Sen. Richard Gordon, to deploy a water tanker, water bladders and a portable filtration system that were used to deliver water to parched barangays.

Despite the lifting of the state of calamity two months later, VIWAD continued implementing its water rationing program pending completion of the P45-million installation of a parallel, bigger steel pipeline with separate intake tank at Cauayan. Funding for the project implemented by the DPWH Catanduanes Engineering District was solicited from the national government by Mayor Laynes.

As the DPWH funding was inadequate to complete the pipeline, the VIWAD board provided its own funding for PVC pipes of the same size that were installed starting from the water filtration facilities and meeting the DPWH portion somewhere in the mountains above Calatagan Tibang.

According to VIWAD Production Division manager Engr. Elmer Macenas, the new pipeline can deliver 60 to 70 liters per second, or twice the volume of the existing pipeline.

It was bared that there is another P30 million allocation for the construction of a new intake tank or slow sand filter but the board of directors prefer that that it should be used for developing new sources at Minaridong and Inagasan, which will be utilized to augment the two other sources for the Virac poblacion.

The Cauayan source, it added, would be used exclusively to supply water to the upland areas and expansion areas of Bigaa, Valencia and Sto. Domingo. Macenas said he will soon prepare the plans for the expansion to the first two villages.

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