Monday, March 4, 2024
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HomeLocal NewsOn Live Stream: Will Albee's brokered solutions solve Bacolod water woes?

On Live Stream: Will Albee’s brokered solutions solve Bacolod water woes?

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BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – It happened under the glare of television lights during the golden age of legacy media it could have been dubbed ‘live on TV’ but the social media savvy mayor of this highly-urbanized provincial center did it as local news outlets livestreamed the Water Summit last week.

Acting on complaints aired directly to him through his radio program “Isugid kay Mayor (Tell it to Mayor),” Benitez initiated a gathering of bulk water suppliers and the local water distributor with mayors of nearby localities to find solutions to the nagging oroblems of lack of potable water for years.

In the end, Benitez did what was likened to “parting the sea”and to chart solutions for the Villar-owned Primewater Construction Corporation that has a joint venture with water distributor Bacolod City Water District.

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And, it was found out that Primewater has yet to imfuse money here to finish the improvement of the water lines of the city and ensure a steady, reliable supply of potable water for the more than half a million people of this highly-urbanized center of Negros Occidental.

“Let’s not go back there,” Benitez said during an interview with the local press when asked for his reaction that Primewater should have improved services since it had a joint ventyre with Baciwa three years ago..

Benitez also expressed apparent dissatisfaction over the reported lack of water in some areas of up to two hours.

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“We need to move forward,” Benitez, said as he told this reporter before the start of the summit that he wants to “look for solutions.”

At the start of the summit, however, Benitez noted that while Primewater was responsive to the problems being presented to them it eventually failed to respond to the concerns brought to them.

Various executives of Primewater took turns explaining what they have done and why some problems like tea-colored or “turbid water” as they call it, exist.

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Among them was Vice President for Non Revenue Water, Ernie Delco, who assured Benitez that they are now preparing for the El Niño phenomenon seen to bring long, dry spells as itvis forecast to peak February, this year.

He said they are working on 600 pipelines with major leaks to ensure that water is distributed continuously in the coming months.

Former councilor Mona Dia Jardin, general manager of BACIWA, for her part, said the problem of turbid water is caused by groundwater with high content of the elements iron and manganese but this is being addressed through cleaning of pipes including air scouring that will remove sediments.

She slso added the consumersof BACIWA rose from 60,000 to around 69,000 since Primewater’s 25-year joint venture deal took effect in 2020.

Delco, however, said usimg surface water will address this problem on a more lasting basis.

In the end, Primewater officials said they will continue to repair pipelines, a condition in the joint venture that also requires the Manila-based firm to sink in billions of pesos in the city.

Benitez also addressed the problem of water sources by getting a commitment from Murcia town Mayor Gerry Rojas that the town is willing to supply five million liters a day to add tp the bulkwater supplier of Primewater now providing 15 megaliters to them.

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Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.
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