THE Metro Naga Water District (MNWD) has started to work on 5 more pumps located in the barangays of San Felipe, Carolina, and Pacol which are expected to boost the supply of potable water in the city.
The project, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2023, is being undertaken 2 months after the malfunctioning motor of one of the 2 pumping stations in Barangay Cararayan was replaced and the repair of the other was completed along with that in Barangay Mabolo.
The water pump projects, which are expected to bring additional power consumption, are being pursued despite the non-imposition of new water rates since 2009. “We observed a 7% increase in our per kilowatt hour power consumption after we operationalized the three pumps [in Cararayan and Mabolo],” MNWD General Manager Florencio Mongoso Jr. said.
It means that MNWD’s per kilowatt hour cost has also increased by 63% as shown in the water district’s power consumption in January 2022 which was placed in the amount of P3.6-M as compared to P9.4-M in August, this year.
He hinted that new water rates have to be adopted in the coming months, saying that the matter is now being deliberated upon by the committee on water rate increase. He said that the MNWD cannot afford to settle for the old water rates lest it will continue to suffer losses.
Based on the regulations set by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), water districts are allowed to raise water rates every 5 years.
The projects are aimed to meet the increasing demand for potable water brought about by the growing number of households and burgeoning businesses in the city. “There’s no way that we fall short in meeting the water requirement of our concessionaires or abandon our mandate of providing them with adequate water supply,” he said.
Mongoso expressed hope that by the first quarter of 2023, the 5 pumping stations that they are working on at present will finally become fully operational.
The funds being spent on these projects came from the water district’s operations and maintenance to where the supposed salaries and wages of personnel whose contracts with the MNWD were not renewed were being channelled.
There are 73 casual employees and contract service workers who were not renewed after they did not make it in the rightsizing process. Aside from that, 66 plantilla positions were also abolished or were not filled up after the employees occupying them have resigned, transferred to other agencies, or retired from service over the years.
By 2024, the water district will focus on the installation of another 5 new pumping stations in the city and the towns of Gainza and Magarao. He said these projects will be funded thru the 2024 annual budget of the water district.
Mongoso said that the construction of a new pumping station roughly costs P15 to P20 million.
He said that although they see that the distribution of drinking water will return to normal in the coverage area of MNWD in that year due to the operationalization of the additional 10 water pumps along with the old ones, the MNWD has to consider also the modernization of the distribution lines installed in Barangay Curry in Pili town that were set up in 1929 or 93 years ago. He said that his office has already sent a team to check out the condition of the pipelines.
“Replacing the dilapidated distribution lines in that area is very hard to do with the presence now of buildings and houses overlaying the underground piping system. The project will cost more than what we are expecting if we are going to find a way around or bypass the structures if only to install a new one,” he said.
(Retrato kua ni Rey Baylon, CEPPIO. Jason B. Neola, CEPPIO.)