Water district to provide five faucets for 35,000 customers with no water supply

By
December 20 2012

Magsuci said the water district office is providing free access to five faucets at their Matina office to the 35,000 lines — households or establishments — whose water supply has been cut off. In simple arithmetic, this would be 7,000 lines per faucet.

By CHRISTINE J. KUIZON
Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The solution that the Davao City Water District (DCWD) can offer to the tens of thousands of Davao residents whose water supply has been cut off since early Sunday morning is, by its own admission, limited.

Wala tayong magawa sa ngayon kasi calamity nga ito (We cannot do anything at present because this is a calamity,” admitted Imelda Magsuci, DCWD spokesperson.

Magsuci said the water district office is providing free access to five faucets at their Matina office to the 35,000 lines — households or establishments — whose water supply has been cut off. In simple arithmetic, this would be 7,000 lines per faucet.

Magsuci cleared that even if water is not restored for months, customers will still have to pay the minimum amount.  “Ang billing depende sa consumption kasi kung ano yung dumaan sa metro mo na tubig, yun lang din ang ibi-bill sa inyo,” she said.

A huge part of metropolitan Davao City’s water connection was suddenly cut off Sunday morning.  According to a DCWD press statement, areas in Talomo, Bago Aplaya, Ulas, Bangkal, Matina, Matina Aplaya, Matina Crossing, Ma-a, Langub, Ecoland, Poblacion, Boulevard, Bajada, Agdao, Obrero, Lanang, Pampanga, Sasa until DPWH Panacan, plus some portions of Matina Pangi and all areas in their immediate vicinity experienced a cut in their water supply.

Magsuci did say that they were also conducting “deliveries” of water to several areas that still had no supply.  However, she could not directly name the areas and could not really say how much water they had delivered.

Hindi na namin na-account ang water kung ilan, how much yan (We cannot say how much),” Magsuci said.  “Kung ano ang laman ng fire trucks, yun ang dinidistribute sa mga tao (Depending on the volume the fire trucks can hold, that is what we distribute to the people),” she added.

The DCWD said it had to turn off water supply in these areas to allow its crew to repair the collapsed support of its mainline pipes located under Bankerohan Bridge (Generoso Bridge).  Magsuci said the strong river current and its high water level plus heavy debris caused the support of the main pipeline to collapse.  She made clear that the pipes were not old and were not in any state of disrepair.

Kung nakita niyo lang ang tubo doon, ang ganda-ganda ng kondisyon (If you only saw our pipes, they were in very, very good condition),” she said.

By Sunday afternoon, water supply was restored to Bago Aplaya, Ulas, Talomo, Bangkal, Matina, Matina Aplaya, Matina Crossing, Ma-a (from McArthur to Metroville Subd.), Ecoland, SIR Sandawa and gravahan in Matina.

According to a second DCWD statement explaining the loss of water supply, it would take several months before reconstruction of the pipes along Bankerohan Bridge can be completed.  Magsuci said that the repair of the main pipeline would take “years.”

In an interview Wednesday, Magsuci said they were going to bypass the main pipeline and borrow unused pipelines from the Maa Bridge.  These pipes would then be attached to the Gen. Generoso Bridge (Bankerohan Bridge) to expedite the solution.  She said they were waiting for the computations from the Department of Public Works and Highways to ensure that the bridge could bear the weight of additional pipes plus the water it would ferry.

The DCWD spokesperson said that repairs using the new bypass plan would start within the week.  She added that the target was that this solution would solve the water supply problem by New Year’s Day.

Meanwhile, General Manager Edwin Regalado asked for the understanding and cooperation of their affected customers, advising them to store water in clean covered containers whenever water is made available.  “We also apologize for the inconvenience that this repair has caused,” he said.  “We are doing everything that we can in order to solve this problem immediately,” Regalado added.

DCWD gave out its Facebook account in order for their customers to stay updated; they also gave out several hotline numbers that customers could call to lodge their complaints.  Magsuci said water delivery would be based on customers’ complaints.

Just this month, the DCWD announced the results of its customer satisfaction survey where they received a 93 percent satisfactory rating from their customers in terms of water quality, availability, pressure and customer service.

According to the results of the survey done by Orient Integrated Development Consultants, Inc., the group that also conducted a similar appraisal in 2009, 93 percent of respondents believe that the new water rates are still within the affordable range.

DCWD rates jacked up its rates by a total of 10 percent in February this year saying they needed it “for infrastructure development or expansion projects and to meet escalating operational costs.”  Another round of increases will be implemented in 2013 and 2014, both also at 10 percent each.

Payment for minimum water consumption from zero to 10 cubic meters stands at PHP 114.  (Christine J. Kuizon/davaotoday.com)

  • Lei

    TO DCWD: Your efforts to keep your customers informed through your official facebook page is appreciated. But your contingency measures are sadly and sorely lacking.

    Here are a few questions that many of your customers have.
    1) SENSE OF URGENCY – You’ve repeatedly posted photos of the damaged pipes. Yes, we understand. Contrary to what you might think, we don’t enjoy complaining especially if we see that there’s indeed substantial damage. However, I’ve only seen a handful of people repairing said damaged pipes. Which begs the question, just how many manpower have you allocated for this? Do you have enough to ensure a 24H workforce on rotation so that those pipes are fixed more quickly?

    2) SOLUTIONS – Is it really a reasonable solution to request your thousands of affected clients to hie off to Matina to fetch water from FIVE faucets? How about those who live in areas like Lanang, Sasa, etc? Have you considered the logistical nightmare it entails for your VALUED CUSTOMERS? In a recent facebook post you’ve mentioned something about requesting for volunteer fire brigades’ assistance. How are you going to do that if you do get their support? Will you at least try to reach all areas?

    3) DELIVER AS PROMISED – In the 4 days we have no water in our area, there were two days that supply came before 2am. We wait for those times so we can fill our empty containers. But yesterday, there was nothing. How exactly are you allocating or rationing the supply?

    4) CUSTOMER SERVICE – Your customer service reps aren’t as good as providing info, which is not their fault given that even your official website and fb page are full of nothing but assurances that you’re fixing it. There’s currently a wide gap between what you’re saying and what you’re actually doing.

    Really, you can do a lot better. But I’ve lost all hope with that.

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