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Monday, February 29, 2016

ISAWAD reveals 20% drop in water supply due to El Niño
By Rene V. Carbayas

ISABELA CITY, Basilan, Feb 29 (PIA) – Water supply production in this city dropped by 20 percent according to the city’s water district in a radio interview Wednesday.

The Isabela City Water District (ISAWAD) revealed that water production dropped and that reduction may continue because of the coming summer period. With this, the water district may enforce a reduction of water rationing from 4 to 2 hours.

As of latest report, ISAWAD Division Manager for Administrative and General Services Carla Shane Patega said that during the first two weeks of January, they already experienced 20 percent drop in water supply. They are projecting another 20 percent drop in the coming months.

“Last December, the water district issued notice regarding the reduction of water rationing due to El Niño after PAGASA issued their advisory predicting that we’ll be experiencing the El Niño phenomenon from December 2015 to mid-year of 2016,” Patega said.

“If we’ve experienced dry-spells from December to January, by February to March, we will experience severe drought. There will be an improvement by April to May though,” Patega added.

Moreover, Patega stressed that in as much as they would like to normalize the water rationing in the city, the El Niño is a natural phenomenon which they don’t have control.

“We can only distribute as much as what we can collect,” said Patega.

The water district has been receiving complaints from its concessionaires over poor implementation for water rationing as some complained that ISAWAD do not follow the schedule. Concessionaires also went to the social media to express their rant and dissatisfaction over the services of ISAWAD.

“Ours is a gravity system. Since we have a ragged terrain-downward, we cannot expect the same pressure all the time,” Engr. Aniceto Evardo, Engineering and Construction Division head explained.

He further said that if the water production did not reach its normal level, they have to adjust the valves for them to be able to distribute to the highland areas of the city. “This is also the reason why they came up with a scheduling arrangement because they can not distribute water to all of their concessionaires at the same time,” Evardo said, adding that the water level situation is different daily so they also respond daily.

Patega also clarified about complaints regarding unannounced shifting of water schedule.

“When we prepare our water rationing notice, this is based on production at that time. Production varies everyday, every hour. Meaning, water production is always inconsistent. That is why we ask for considerations and understanding from the concessionaires. It is what makes issuing notices difficult,” Patega said.

In addition, since concessionaires will observe frequent delays in their water rationing schedule starting next month, it must be understood that it is due to the system mechanism in their respective area.

“Once we release the water from our source it will take time and this creates vacuum,” said Evardo expounded.

On the other hand, effective February, the water district Board approved the suspension of acceptance of new connection application. All fresh-water resorts in the city has been closed and will not open until water production normalizes.

As of 2015, the water demand in Isabela City reached 2,675,456 cu/m catering about 8,000 concessionaires with an average of 5-6 members per household, i.e., 27 cu/m or 135 drums of water consumption per residence in a month.

Furthermore, ISAWAD encouraged everyone to refer immediately to them any violation on illegal water connection and direct-line pumping as it is punishable by law under the R.A. 8041 or the Water Crisis Act.

ISAWAD also campaigns for water conservation.  They encouraged their concessionaires to utilize the reuse, reduce and recycle scheme to manage water consumption, consequently, lowering their bills, because every drop of water counts.  (Angela B. Lazaro)