Court averts water cut in Cagayan de Oro

Court averts water cut in Cagayan de Oro

Court averts water cut in Cagayan de Oro

RATIONING Residents in a village of Cagayan de Oro City line up to fill their water containers from a delivery truck dispatched by Mayor Rolando Uy on Wednesday to cushion the impact of a water supply cutoff on Tuesday. —photo courtesy of Cagayan de Oro City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines — A local court has temporarily eased the worries of some 40,000 households here whose taps could run dry due to an unresolved dispute between the water district and its bulk supplier.

On Tuesday night, Mayor Rolando Uy announced that Regional Trial Court Branch 17 Judge Ana Candida Casiño issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Cagayan de Oro Bulkwater Inc. (Cobi) and Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc. which operates a water treatment facility for the water delivered to distribution utility Cagayan de Oro Water District (COWD).


Casiño directed Cobi and Rio Verde “from disconnecting the water supply and distribution” to COWD within an “inextendible period of 72 hours” from issuance of the order.


READ: Water supply woes grip Cagayan de Oro

Cobi shut off its valves around 10 a.m. on Tuesday, reducing water supply and pressure in at least 13 heavily populated villages of the city.

COWD, at first, advised the public that there was a burst pipe in the water transmission line of Rio Verde, hence, there would be an interruption in water services in the villages of Lumbia, Pagatpat, Canitoan, Upper Carmen, Patag, Buua, Iponan, and in Opol town, in the western side of the city. It added that water may be in short supply in the villages of Camaman-an, Lapasan, Gusa Upper Macasandig and Tibasak in the eastern side.

It later took back the advisory, admitting instead that Cobi had made good on an earlier threat to cut off bulk water supply if it did not settle some P479 million in supposed unpaid bills.

“These payments are essential to ensure continued operation and maintenance of the water treatment plant. However, due to the current circumstances, we are forced to temporarily cut water services until the situation is rectified,” Cobi said in a statement on Tuesday.

Rate increase

Councilor Edgar Cabanlas called out Cobi for its decision to cut off bulk water supply. “This is about public welfare and the right of the people for consistent and continued water supply. There is nothing in the contract that says Cobi can stop the water supply in case there is a dispute between COWD and Cobi,” Cabanlas pointed out.


According to COWD general manager Antonio Young, they have not missed paying Cobi its water purchases at P16.70 per cubic meter. But the supposed debt that Cobi is demanding payment for represents a rate increase of P3.97 per cubic meter from 2021 to 2024.

Young said they did not implement such an increase, especially that the water concessionaires were still recovering from the pandemic. However, Cobi’s billing reflected the “automatic increase” every three years, which is also enshrined in its bulk water supply contract forged in 2017.

“The difference is what Cobi’s asking us to pay,” Young explained.

Cobi supplies 80 million to 100 million liters of water per day, catering to almost half of COWD’s service area.

Jose Micabalo, a seller of water tanks and containers, said that he observed sales peaking on Tuesday afternoon, which he attributed to the supply shutdown by Cobi.

Contingency in place

With the water service cut off, Uy set into motion the local government’s contingency plan.

Uy had placed the entire city under a state of emergency on May 2, taking cue from Cobi’s earlier notice that it would close its valves should a settlement not be reached with COWD on its payment demand. He had organized a water task force to ensure rationing in the communities.

At almost midnight on Tuesday, COWD advised that following the court order, water from Rio Verde had flowed again into its pipelines.

On Wednesday morning, COWD advised that its monitoring team had observed “a gradual decrease in bulk water flow, eventually stopping around 11 a.m.” It said a team has been dispatched to Rio Verde’s facility to investigate the incident.

Also on Wednesday, personnel from the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department, Bureau of Fire Protection, and volunteers made the rounds in the communities of Lower Bulua, Calaanan, Iponan, and Carmen to ration off water to residents.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Uy assured that the water rationing rounds would continue until water supply and pressure become stable.

TAGS: Cagayan de Oro Bulkwater Inc., Rio Verde Water Consortium Inc., Rolando Uy, TRO

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.