UPDATED: ‘Seniang’ cripples Malaybalay City water supply

MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/30 December) Tropical storm ‘Seniang’ left Malaybalay City with “water interruption in most areas” of the Malaybalay City Water District’s (MCWD) distribution grid due to the storm’s effects to its sources of water.

The MCWD announced Monday night through a public advisory that water interruption will be experienced in 20 of the 22 barangays in their service area. The city has a total of 46 barangays but only about half of the number is served by the water district.

The water district cited “emergency repair” being done by the Malaybalay City Government Water Supply System (MCGWSS) on the major transmission line from Kibalabag Creek, source of 70 percent of MCWD’s water supply.

Tomas Taga, MCGWSS chief told BukidnonNews.Net Tuesday the major problem is the overflow of water at source submerging the intake dam. This caused them to limit quantity of water into the reservoir they subject to treatment before release.

He admitted that the transmission pipe from the reservoir to MCWD obtained a six-inch hole causing leakage even before the onslaught of tropical storm Seniang, December 26. He said work for two inches of the leakage is left, so far.

Taga said via telephone they are hoping to restore normal water supply soonest but noted that it depends on the weather.

The city government sells water to MCWD and release 180 liters per second (lps) on normal days, Taga added. But due to the problem and heavy rains causing turbidity, they can only release 140 lps.

Juanito Aroa, MCWD general manager confirmed via telephone the release of water from the city government as of 6a.m. Tuesday.

“But it is not enough. We released water but it is insufficient or low pressure in most areas. With the rate there are still areas like in Brgy. San Jose and the BLISS area (old Malaybalay airport in Casisang) where there is no water supply,” he added.

Aroa said, hopefully, the city government can ascertain the time frame to complete repairs of the damage as soon as possible.

In 2012, typhoon ‘Pablo’ also hit the city’s water supply by damaging some of its pipelines. The effect: scheduled water ration to cater to Poblacion areas and water delivery with the help of the city fire department using their fire trucks for far-flung barangays.

Malaybalay water supply went down to less than 50% distribution in the wake of typhoon Pablo’s onslaught.

With Seniang, the MCWD also suspended the operation of its Kalasugay Filtration System due to turbid water from Bag-as and Lumayagan creeks caused by heavy rain.

The water district also shut down its supply from Dalwangan due to turbid water from Lalawan Creek.

As of 6p.m. Monday, only the water treatment plant in Brgy Sumpong is operational “but has limited production capacity, the MCWD said. Concessionaires, however, who may want to fetch water, may proceed to the MCWD in Sumpong.

The MCWD noted that there is “low pressure” to “no water” in the following areas: Poblacion barangays 1 to 11, barangays Casisang, San Jose, Aglayan, Linabo, Sumpong, Kalasungay, Laguitas, Managok and Dalwangan.

Aroa, MCWD general manager, said as of late Monday night there is still no certainty on the return to normalcy and the possible rationing of water as it depends on how fast the city government can fix the damages.

In Kalasungay, water supply was lost around 5.a.m. Monday and was not yet restored as of 11:30p.m. At around 5a.m. Tuesday, water with low pressure already flowed from the faucet.

But Malaybalay residents vent their ire on Facebook even on Tuesday morning, with many of them complaining about lack of information and seeking updates on when exactly the water supply will be restored.

“SGDT” lamented in her FB post around 9a.m. that they did not get the advisory so were unable to do house chores.

“Kanusa man mobalik tubig sa Malaybalay (When exactly will water supply be restored)?,” FB netizen “CGG” asked around 10a.m. in social network Pulitika sa Bukidnon (Walter I. Balane/BukidnonNews.Net)