COWD pri­va­ti­za­tion pushed

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - TOPSTORIES - By PJ Orias

The pri­va­ti­za­tion of the Ca­gayan de Oro City Wa­ter District (COWD) may be the best op­tion to take to solve the city's wors­en­ing wa­ter prob­lem, a city coun­cilor said yes­ter­day.

City Coun­cilor Teo­dulfo `Bong' Lao Jr., chair of the com­mit­tee on pub­lic util­i­ties, said pri­va­tiz­ing the wa­ter district may mean ac­cess to funds that can be used to upgrade the city's ob­so­lete wa­ter sys­tem.

“Karon, ang COWD is de­pen­dent siya sa loans, unya tan-awon pa gyud sa ilang utan­gan ang ilang rev­enue, unya kung tan-awon nimo, mas daghan raba ang non-wa­ter rev­enue sa wa­ter district kaysa sa ilang wa­ter rev­enue,” Lao said.

Lao said the wa­ter district should not be afraid to take this step, point­ing out that this op­tion has been proven ef­fec­tive by other wa­ter util­i­ties in the coun­try.

If not pri­va­ti­za­tion, Lao said mak­ing it into a co­op­er­a­tive, could also be the op­tion.

“What makes the co­op­er­a­tive good, is part owner ang katawhan sa wa­ter district, in other words, kung mag­pataas sila ug wa­ter rate, ikaw as part owner, you are part of the de­ci­sion-mak­ing body, un­like sa pri­vate com­pany pud, na ang de­ci­sion naa ra sa cor­po­rate board,” he said.

Lao said these op­tions “seem to be the only ways to en­sure ef­fi­cient de­liv­ery of wa­ter to house­holds”.

“We have wa­ter short­age kay wala man ma-upgrade ang atong wa­ter sys­tem. Ang 40,000 cu­bic meters per day with enough pres­sure, ku­lang pa gi­hapon na, daghan pa kaayo na barangay ang walay wa­ter con­nec­tion at present,” he said.

He said the en­try of a new bulk wa­ter sup­plier wont solve the city's wa­ter woes as the COWD will still han­dle wa­ter dis­tri­bu­tion.

The MetroPac has yet to start to start sup­ply­ing wa­ter since it is still iron­ing out its con­tract. How­ever, it is ex­pected to sup­ply 100 mil­lion liters per day to over 90,000 ser­vice con­nec­tions of the wa­ter district.

En­gi­neer Bien­venido Batar Jr, COWD as­sis­tant general man­ager, mean­while said that pri­va­tiz­ing wa­ter districts has be­come a trend for many cities but pointed out that there are still ad­van­tages in main­tain­ing the wa­ter district con­cept. “Sa wa­ter district, gawas sa re­stric­tions sa fi­nances ug tech­nol­ogy, fi­nan­cially vi­able util­ity man gi­hapon kita,” he said.

He how­ever ad­mit­ted that pri­va­ti­za­tion would mean easy ac­cess to fi­nances and tech­nol­ogy- two things which he said, are dif­fi­cult un­der the gov­ern­ment pro­cure­ment process, among other things.

But for Batar, the suc­cess or fall of a wa­ter district still lies on its im­ple­men­ta­tion of projects, and co­op­er­a­tion and unity among key per­sons in­volved in the wa­ter fa­cil­ity.

Mean­while, since Satur­day evening, sup­ply flow rate from Rio Verde Wa­ter Con­sor­tium Inc. (RVWCI) to COWD take-off point has sta­bi­lized but still with zero pres­sure, a COWD ad­vi­sory said yes­ter­day.

Though pres­sure is in­suf­fi­cient, im­prove­ment to reach the far­thest ends of the ser­vice area of wa­ter sup­ply in some of the af­fected ar­eas has been ob­served, such as Can­i­toan, Pa­gat­pat, Patag, Bu­lua, and Ipo­nan.

How­ever, el­e­vated ar­eas in­clud­ing por­tions along road to Lumbia, in­clud­ing Fresno Sub­di­vi­sion, back of

DSWD, Palalan, Old Air­port and some parts of Opol, re­main wa­ter­less. Some parts of Patag, Bu­lua, Ipo­nan and Opol con­tinue to ex­pe­ri­ence Low Pres­sure to No Wa­ter.

In or­der to pro­vide sup­ply to these ar­eas, wa­ter de­liv­ery will con­tinue to be fa­cil­i­tated un­til such time nor­mal wa­ter sup­ply is re­stored while COWD con­tin­ues to make ad­just­ments in the pipe­line dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem to op­ti­mize use of avail­able wa­ter from the off-take.

Wa­ter will be de­liv­ered by COWD’s two tankers, Rio Verde’s one tanker, as well as firetrucks from the Bu­reau of Fire Pro­tec­tion of the city and of Opol town.

The Ca­gayan Elec­tric Power and Light Com­pany (Cepalco), as well as Limketkai Mall and the Vol­un­teer Fire Brigade has like­wise pledged in de­liv­er­ing wa­ter to af­fected ar­eas..

“Wa­ter from COWD sources is safe. How­ever, due to cir­cum­stances that may hap­pen dur­ing trans­port, han­dling and stor­age, boil­ing wa­ter for drink­ing is ad­vised,” the COWD said.

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