The city’s existing water sources are good until 2035 if current rainfall patterns do not change, according to the Puerto Princesa City Water District (PPCWD).

Water district general manager Walter Laurel said the city is only using half of its production capacity of approximately 85,000 cubic meters per day, with only 42,000 to 43,000 demand. Water is supplied to the city by sources in Campo Uno, Lapu-Lapu, and Montible.

There is a possibility that the pattern of rainfall will have an effect on the rainfed watershed in Campo Uno in Barangay Irawan, he said.

“Kung di magbabago ang takbo ng panahon, hanggang 2035 may tubig tayo pero ‘yong climate change, meron mga buwan na sobra-sobra ang ulan, meron buwan na walang ulan. Kung hindi magbabago ang rainfall pattern, makaka-survive tayo hanggang 2035 with all existing facilities [and] infrastructure,” he said.

Laurel also mentioned that Montible, which has a capacity of 30,000 cubic meters, is helping maintain the consistent level of production even when the weather is dry.

According to Laurel, the PPCWD is currently conducting a study to impound water in Campo Uno while taking into account its natural catchment, with a 3 million cubic meter supply goal. It will serve as the city’s support during the dry season in March and April, and PPCWD plans to build it in five years.

PPCWD is also considering impounding water in St. Lucia via a man-made lake with a capacity of 5 million cubic meters. The project’s 100-hectare land area was requested by the city water district.

“Kapag summer–sa ngayon kasi na meron na tayong Montible, merong dependabe flow na more than 30,000. Worst scenario, kahit matuyo lahat ng balon, matuyo ang Campo Uno, meron tayong 30,000 sa campo uno. Ang problema lang natin ay lumalaki ‘yong demand. Kapag summer at walang tubig na matitira, wala tayong mapagkukunan. Kailangan mag-impound para sa tag-ulan pupunuin mo, pag tag-init gagamitin mo,” he said.

New transmission line
As the supply of water exceeds the demand, PPCWD is looking for ways to alleviate supply pressure in the distribution system. Supplies from Campo Uno, Montible, and Lapu-Lapu are all crammed into only two existing transmission lines.

“Kasi nakadagdag tayo ng 30,000 sa Montible tapos meron na lang kaming problema ngayon ang ating distribution system kasi sumikip na. Ang ating transmision line na galing sa Irawan ay dalawa lang ‘yan na 400 mm papuntang Bayan. Pagdating sa Irawan, nagkakasalubungan na ang tubig galing sa Campo Uno, Montible at Lapu-Lapu so nagsisiksikan sila. Hirap makalusot, mataas ang pressure diyan,” he said.

The PPCWD engineering department study suggests a third transmission line from Irawan to Sta. Lourdes should be installed. It will pass through Tagburos and San Jose before turning onto the secondary road that leads to Wescom Road.

Laurel stated that PPCWD is currently in talks with various private banks about a loan of P500 million.

“Luluwag ang linya, mas lalaki ang production, mas maraming available na tubig sa bayan. Sa ngayon ang pressure natin sa bayan ‘pag peak hour nasa 13 PSI pero kayang sumampa ng second floor, malakas pa. Kapag ma-implement ay ma-maintain natin ang 25 PSI. Actually ang 5 ay okay na, pang-household na,” he said.

Increasing the pressure on households will both help PPCWD sales to pay loans and provide convenience to Puerto Princesa consumers.

Increase in sales
According to Laurel, the PPCWD saw an increase in sales and production during the pandemic period compared to the pre-pandemic time. The pre-pandemic figure was around P40-P41 million, with approximately 1.1 million cubic meters consumed. During the pandemic, it rose to P43 million, with 1.2 to 1.3 million cubic meters consumed.

However, Laurel noted that the temporary removal of penalties and disconnection during the city’s COVID-19 spike in 2021 affected collection efficiency.

“Ibig sabihin maraming utang kasi walang disconnection. Kapag may surge ng kaso, walang disconnection, walang penalty, hindi talaga nangongolekta halos, noong 2020 ay mababa ang collection,” he said.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.