Climaco lauds Zambo Water for El Niño mitigating efforts

Mayor Beng Climaco has expressed her thanks and gratitude to the Zamboanga Water Company for its successful efforts in mitigating the effects of El Niño, which has brought about water shortage in the city.

This, after the Zamboanga Water, a joint venture company of the Manila Water Company, Inc. and the Zamboanga City Water District (ZCWD), reported to the chief executive the recovery of 17,000 cubic meters of non-revenue water (NRW) over the last two years of its operation.

The water shortage the city of Zamboanga is currently experiencing due to the dry spell would have been worst had it not for the mitigating efforts carried out for the last two years by the Zamboanga Water.

Engr. Rodrigo Abinsay, project manager of Zamboanga Water, said the company in two years of operation had repaired close to 10,000 leaks, which resulted in the recovery of 17,000 cubic meters NRW back into the system of the ZCWD.

He said originally the Zamboanga Water’s goal was to recover 27,000 cu.m NRW in five years. But, in two years’ time the company had already recovered17,000 cu.m NRW, leaving 10,000 cu.m more to  be recovered in the next two years.

He recalled that Zamboanga Water started operation in 2015 and the following year (2016) El Niño struck the city. “So, we already had experienced the effects of El Niño in 2016, which we believed in terms of water availability was worse than today.”

According to him, in 2016 El Niño water supply in the city was every other day basis. “That was when we were only starting this project. So, today after two years, with 17,000 cu.m NRW back into the system, I think the city itself is now in a better position because even with the ongoing water rationing, it’s not every other day.

The situation may worsen, Engr. Abinsay said, “today the water availability may be shorter but everybody has water everyday unlike before (every other day in 2016).

Records showed that in December 2019, the ZCWD system’s loss or NRW volume was pegged at 1,514,138 cu.m or 52% of the production with only 48% or 1,620,005 cu.m was billed volume.

The water system’s loss was attributed to defective water meters, leaks due to old and dilapidated pipes, poor customer service, water scarcity and illegal connections.

To address these challenges, the Manila Water Company, Inc. and the ZCWD forged a joint venture agreement, creating the Zamboanga Water Company, with the main objective of reducing the NRW by 27,000 cu.m in five years.

But, in two years’ time, the Zamboanga Water has undertaken the replacement of defective water meters and old pipes, increased water rates, mainline replacement and leak repair, set up call center, developed spring sources, and closed illegal connections. These efforts successfully resulted in the recovery of 17,000 cu.m NRW.

“This is a better help the Manila Water, which owns 70% of the joint venture, can extend to the city, especially now Zamboanga is under a state of calamity due to the El Niño phenomenon,” said Engr. Abinsay when interviewed after he and Manila Water officials had an audience with Mayor Climaco Thursday afternoon in City Hall. The remaining 30% of the joint venture is owned by the ZCWD. Meanwhile, the Zamboanga Water also shared to the mayor two of its latest projects as part of its corporate social responsibility. These are the community water project in Mangusu and launching of the WASH facility at Lumayang Elementary School.-(Vic Larato)