The city water district has guaranteed adequate water supply for the next 10 years in Puerto Princesa, with the start Thursday of Phase II of its P783 million Water System Improvement Project (WSIP) in Montible and Lapu-Lapu rivers.
General Manager Walter Laurel of the Puerto Princesa City Water District (PPCWD) said on August 5 that they will update every five years to meet the increasing demand of consumers in the city.
“Ma-a-assure natin na meron tayong tubig in the next 10 years. Kami naman, planning horizon namin, every five years ay nag-u-update, in 10 years time ay kukulangin na naman ang supply natin. So dapat, bago mangyari ‘yon, meron na kaming mga naka-laydown na program para ma-meet natin ‘yong demand ng tubig,” he said.
The WSIP was conceptualized in 2014 to provide a stable, reliable, and sustainable water supply in the city. The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) only issued the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) clearance on July 25, 2019, and a memorandum of agreement with the Bureau of Correction (BuCor) was inked on August 7, 2019.
The project was funded using loans from the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), given the fact that the city water district earlier declared that the debts would not be incurred by the water customers.
The total cost of the project is P783,783, 604.98 with 89.31 project accomplishment and 100 percent completion expected on November 26 by its project contractor, HG III Construction & Development Corp.
Engr. Juan Arquero, engineering services department manager said that the project has a capacity of 30 million liters per day for 1,250 cubic meters per hour. The Montible and Lapu-Lapu rivers can support 70 percent of Puerto Princesa’s water requirement, he added.
The PPCWD initially tapped the water sources in 2020 to avoid the supply shortage which is usually experienced in the dry season.
Mayor Lucilo Bayron said the challenge they want to extend from the city government is for PPCWD to meet the increasing demand of water supply as the population growth of Puerto Princesa hits a 3.98 annual growth rate, citing Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
“Hindi titigil ang population, ito, magdi-deteriorate ang source natin. Kung ngayon, nakaka-generate ‘yan ng milyong liters, five years from now ay hindi na aabot siguro sa ganon. Pero ang population growth natin ay sigeng increase,” he said.
“Ang population natin is 3.98, hindi biro ‘yan. Higher than the national average kasi malaki iyong ating immigration. In addition to that, ini-expect natin na dadami pa rin ang turista rito, mga transient, mag-a-add ‘yong sa water requirement ng city of Puerto Princesa,” he added.
Bayron also said that with the help of the facilities developed through WSIP II, the remaining households in the city will soon be connected to the water supply provided by the PPCWD.
“Iyon ang paghahandaan namin, na before pa mangyari na malagpasan ng demand ang ating supply ay dapat meron na tayong additional source,” Laurel said.
Its partnership with the BuCor, particularly with the Iwahig Corrections Facility (ICF) which covers the location of water sources, the PPCWD must pay an income share of 27 centavos for every cubic meter.
“Noong pagpirma namin ng joint venture agreement ay nagbabayad na kami ng P100,000 per month as a revenue share. Meron tayong temporary facilities diyan, nagbabayad na rin kami ng production share,” Laurel said.
It can be recalled that in 2019 former BuCor Director-General Nicanor Faeldon said the bigger challenge with the project was to maintain the source of water as it is surrounded by the forest.
Laurel said the city water district is currently crafting an integrated watershed management plan (IWMP) and already conducted four workshops with the stakeholders in Puerto Princesa. The PPCWD is expecting to finish the IWMP for the Montible watershed this year.
“Within that plan, nakapaloob ‘yong activities and investments na gagawin natin para mapanatili ang ganitong kalagayan ng ating watershed na mataas ang forest cover at walang human activities na pwedeng makasira sa ating environment. Normal, kapag nasira ang ating environment, matutuyo ang ating tubig,” Laurel said.