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Cebu City declares water crisis

MANILA, Philippines, April 2 ------ The city government of Cebu declared a water crisis due to the impact of the El Niño phenomenon. In a press conference, Mayor Michael Rama said the declaration is necessary due to challenges the city is facing from the effects of El Niño. “I will now declare (a) crisis on water,” Rama said, adding the heat index in the city is not normal.


While the city government has been preparing for the El Niño phenomenon since March 2023, Rama said they also have to intensify preparations as the heat index is expected to continue increasing. Rama called a convergence meeting with his appointed board members in the Metro Cebu Water District (MCWD) and the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management as well as the city councilors and other concerned agencies to address the crisis. He expressed optimism that the city could still provide the water needs of its residents. He urged Cebuanos to conserve water.


Rama said he would tap the help of an expert from Manila in drafting plans aimed at addressing the problem, including a plan to reduce non-revenue water, or water that was pumped but unaccounted for, to 15 percent. He said practical approaches are needed like building an impounding system in a dam, particularly the Gabion Dam. Rama urged the members of the city council to “take charge” in addressing concerns and the impact of the El Niño phenomenon, especially since a state of calamity has been declared in villages located in the elevated areas of the city. He urged the 19 city councilors to visit barangays in the elevated areas and check the situation of the residents.


As this developed, the MCWD said it would distribute water to city residents using its mobile siphon tanks (MSTs). MCWD board chairman Jose Daluz III said MSTs would go to the upper villages of Bonbon, Cambinocot and Sinsin to deliver 10 cubic meters per hour of water. Daluz said the board would meet with barangay captains to inform them that they could fetch water from these areas and distribute it to the residents.  The water distribution is expected to start tomorrow.




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