The local water utility services office has requested an endorsement from the city government for its new water system project, which is to be financed through a ₱500 million loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Bank of the Philippine Islands.

Puerto Princesa City Water District (PPCWD) General Manager Walter Laurel informed members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod during their regular session on Monday that they had been advised by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to secure an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for the project, which includes obtaining an official endorsement from the city government.

Laurel also mentioned that they have been working on the new project for two years and anticipate starting implementation within the month, pending the receipt of the endorsement and the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

“We are seeking endorsement because we are almost ready to implement this project; the funding is already approved. We are doing these processes simultaneously, including the processing of funds and securing permits, so we are now near the implementation stage of this project,” he said.

“This new transmission line will be part of our water security because, at the moment, our main transmission line is passing through Sicsican and Sta. Monica [only], and once this transmission line is broken, there will be no water (supply) in the city proper, so this diversion pipeline will enhance the security of our water supply,” he explained.

The main component of the project is a 19.5-kilometer transmission line that will stretch from Barangay Irawan to Barangay Sta. Lourdes, with a budget of ₱341 million. It also includes several other barangay water system projects and minor improvements in the city proper.

Laurel further stated that, based on a series of studies and city-wide assessments, they determined that the areas of Sta. Lourdes and Tagburos need to be prioritized due to major developments occurring there and the current lack of larger transmission lines.

“The transmission line that we are using now from Irawan to Tagburos and Sta. Lourdes was built around late 90s so iilan pa lang yung tao nung panahon na yun against the current demand ngayon,” he said.

He also stated that for the past two years, they have been utilizing booster pumps to enhance the water supply to the two barangays, a method that has proven to be costly.

“We are using electricity to pump water samantalang meron sana tayong libreng tubig by gravity from Campo Uno and Lapu-lapu source,” he said as he expressed a sense of urgency.

“So very immediate yung pangangailangan natin dahil kung mapapansin nyo sa Sta. Lourdes and Tagburos area angdaming subdivisions na nagsipag-sulputan so kailangan talaga namin mai-implement yung project. Maraming area dyan sa Sta. Lourdes na walang tubig during peak hours so madalian talaga. We need to implement this project as soon as possible. Makikiusap lang ako na mabigyan ng konting preference yung project para mabilis matapos yung mga endorsement,” he added.

The construction period is estimated to be around two years, but Laurel said they can complete it within 15 or 16 months.

He stated that, as promised by the water district, there will be no increase in water rates for the next 15 years. The new project will be self-sustaining and capable of generating funds to repay the loan.