ILOILO CITY—The Iloilo City Council has placed the city under a state of calamity not due to flooding brought by Typhoon “Pablo” but because of varying levels of water shortage in almost a third of the city’s 180 barangays.
In a resolution passed on Wednesday, a majority of the 14-member city council approved the request of Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog to declare the city a calamity area.
In its resolution, the council said 56 barangays in the districts of City Proper, Molo, Arevalo, Jaro, Lapaz and Mandurriao were experiencing water shortage due to the inability of the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) to meet the water supply needs.
The 56 affected barangays have a total population of 172,863 or 39 percent of the total 447,562 residents.
In a separate resolution, the Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said only 14 of the 56 barangays affected by the shortage are being serviced by water tankers.
The calamity declaration will allow the city government to release five percent of its calamity fund for measures to augment the water supply.
The city has been suffering from perennial water shortage especially during the dry months due to supply problems from its source.
The MIWD provides water supply to 31,000 subscribers in Iloilo City and the towns of Oton, Pavia, Sta. Barbara, Cabatuan, Maasin and San Miguel.
In an earlier interview, MIWD General Manager Le Jayme Jalbuena said areas especially at the end points of the supply system have been suffering water shortage because of supply problems.
The MIWD’s main water source is the Tigum River through an intake dam in Barangay Daja in Maasin town, 29.5 km northwest of Iloilo City.
It also gets its supply from seven pumping stations in deep wells in Oton and San Miguel towns. The water production reaches 30,000 cubic meters daily, below the 31,000 cu m requirement.
The shortage is being compounded by system losses and illegal connections which reduce the supply by 30 percent to 38 percent, according to Jalbuena.
The MIWD has been augmenting the water supply by directly injecting additional water in the city’s supply lines through delivery tankers. Aside from finding new water sources, the MIWD has tapped private suppliers to provide additional water supply that will be injected through its system.
But the project has not yet been implemented.