By Felix ‘Boy’ Espineda, Jr.
CASIGURAN, Sorsogon, 30Sept2015 (BicolToday.com) – The unhampered flow of water from Inlagadian, Casiguran down to Abuyog in Sorsogon City is far to be realize after contrasting claims of Casiguran Water District and Sorsogon City Water District as to the pricing index and other unresolved issues between the two utilities.
In a press briefing called by the management of CWD general manager Eduardo Tejada pressing issues supporting their position were made known which points to SCWD inability to respond appropriately to their tender of supplying their excess water to Sorsogon City. He argued that the resolution of the issues affecting the water supply agreement is the ballgame of SCWD, saying further that “it takes two to tango”.
In a document release to the media here, as early as 2012 an exploratory dialog between the two water firms took place at the residence of Senagtor Francis Escudero in Buhatan, Sorsogon City wherein the requirements to satisfy the consumers of SCWD was discussed. That the city water firm is in need of additional potable water supply and CWD has the abundant supply from its spring in Barangay Inlagadian and willing to supply SCWD subject to mutual understanding and the senator will fund from his PDAF the initial amount for the project.
In subsequent meeting with the senator, Tejada was assured of 10 million pesos by the senator. The meeting was attended by former Casiguran town mayor Edwin Hamor. The project cost estimate was forty million (P40 million) and could have been funded more if the PDAF was not scrapped and a request was forwarded to the Local Water Utilities Administration by CWD for funding. The initial conditions of CWD that the supply to SCWD should not in a way affect the source consumers needing appropriate water transmission line to Barangay Abuyog.
On the part of SCWD it shall construct at its own expense a ground reservoir of appropriate size at Abuyog which will be filled-up during the night, noting that in any way the finances of CWD will not be affected if it is to avail funding from a financial institution, saying that the onset of the operation CWD should realize a reasonable profit for the rehabilitation of its aging water system and for expansion program of their area.
By September of same year, another meeting between the two firms took place in the presence of town mayor Ester Hamor of Casiguran discussing the details of the supposed project.
By early 2013, SCWD Board Resolution expressed its intention to avail the services of CWD with a minimum volume of 3,000 cubic meter a day. A month later the 10 million pesos was downloaded starting the project but needs additional funds for the 14.5 kilometers of pipeline for its completion.
It also made use of Sorsogon City Council Resolution No. 143 series of 2013 that requested LGU Casiguran for a re-supply of potable water to Sorsogon City which was cut-off. Before the cut-off, SCWD is buying the water supply of CWD at fifty centavos per cubic meter. Such pricing in the words of Tejada was onerous, highly disadvantageous to CWD. The agreement was signed prior to his tenure as general manager.
It was also gleamed from the documents that the construction of the water transmission line to Abuyog will also benefit consumers in Barangay Sta. Cruz, Trece Martirez and Boton which is experiencing water supply shortage. The trhee barangays are concessionaires of CWD giving urgency to implement the project.
The Abuyog line will be connected to the existing line at Barangay Escuala of Casiguran necessary to implement an agreement with SCWD, but SCWD opts to wait for the grant from LWUA for it to save its financial exposure.
This option was contained in its letter urging that the pricing should be at reasonable considerations of the various factors which will affect such cost,for CWD intends to sell it at ten pesos per cubic meter. It also said that the moment they receive the approval of the budget allocation common to both for the project then the negotiations can commence for the most reasonable price of water they will buy.
With the impasse, CWD letter of November 14, 2014 informed SCWD that they are indefinitely suspending the bidding process and implementation of the project-construction of Water Transmission Line from Barangay Escuala, Casiguran, Sorsogon to Barangay Abuyog, Sorsogon City, that they fully understand SCWD predicaments and SCWD decision is its own prerogatives, further saying that it may in fact consider other options of obtaining water from other sources, water district or municipality. [BicolToday.com]