Virac water source to run dry in a month
posted 2-Jun-2019  ·  
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Lack of available funds will force the municipal government of Virac and the Philippine Red Cross to cease delivering potable water to parched barangays, with the Virac Water District issuing a dire prediction that their water sources will dry up in a month if no rains fall soon.

Last May 16, 2019, the PRC Catanduanes Chapter informed Mayor Samuel Laynes that it would be terminating its water and sanitation augmentation operation on May 24 due to lack of funds for the maintenance and other operational expenses.

According to official sources who requested anonymity, Mayor Laynes initiated the operation in coordination with the Red Cross last Mar. 24 due to the scarcity of potable water caused by the prolonged, abnormally low rainfall since January 2019.

With costs charged to the water supply augmentation funds of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), the Philippine Red Cross deployed a trailer-type LMS water purification unit for the production of potable water from Hicming river.

Over the past seven weeks of the joint operation, water tankers of the Red Cross and MDRRMO delivered the purified water to barangays Balite, Casoocan, Calampong, Pajo San Isidro, Calabnigan, Sto. Cristo, Poniton, San Isidro Village relocation site, Sto. Domingo PROFEM, Palta Salvacion, Tubaon, Talisoy, Simamla, the Material Recovery Facility at the Virac public market and the Virac Rural Health Unit.

As of May 7, 2019, the operation has produced a total of 1,494,000 liters of potable water and distributed 1,580,500 liters.

The delivered water were either supplied as refills for the five water bladders deployed by the Red Cross in selected villages or directly given to residents.

Last week, the water bladders were pulled out by the Red Cross due to declining water production, which was unfortunately blamed by some barangays on the electoral loss of Mayor Laynes. Water “tinkering” operation, or the deployment of the tanker to some barangays, will continue until May 24.

A municipal official told the Tribune that without additional funding, the water augmentation operation cannot be continued unless the municipal government declares a State of Calamity.

The current state of agriculture production do not wa it crrant such a declaration by the Municipal DRRM Council, he added.

The impending change in municipal leaders, particularly in the memberships of the MDRRM Council and the Sangguniang Bayan, means the disaster council could meet on the matter by July 2019.

It is claimed that the Laynes administration planned to procure an LMS mobile water filtration facility as well as a water tanker for augmenting water supply in the barangays during the dry season but the unfavorable election result has scuttled the proposal.

Last Friday, VIWAD management admitted that its two main water sources at Cauayan and Sibanhan has suffered a 7-percent drop in production while the third source at Padurog is almost dried up with water flowing at just three liters per second.

General Manager Gabriel Tejerero told the Tribune that the present Cauayan flow can no longer fill up the reservoir at sitio Nalnod and could dry up in two weeks, an unexpected development for the water firm servicing more than 7,000 concessionaires.

To reduce its dependence on surface water sources which are vulnerable to the effects of climate change, VIWAD has contracted the establishment of a deep well at sitio Tagkalo in barangay Bigaa to a Manila-based contractor for P3.4 million.

The project intends to drill a 427-foot hole into the earth, with officials hoping that it could give more than 15 liters per second of potable water.

Production will be known after well testing, they said, with the project to deliver water for Bigaa and neighboring barangays through direct pumping.

VIWAD is also shopping for a possible P40-million loan with favorable terms from the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) as well as government and private banking institutions to finance the development and construction of four more deep well water sources.

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