>Bohol to Sell Water to Cebu?


The proposal for Bohol to sell  water to Cebu was revived even as the plan for the Cebu-Bohol friendship Bridge is considered a factor for the said water project.
Former Pres. Fidel Ramos last Thursday  revived the proposal as the only way to solve Metro Cebu’s water crisis.
But the idea was met with lukewarm reaction by advocates of sustainable water who preferred developing Cebu's small river systems to address the water shortage.
Ramos, who was in Cebu  to keynote the 8th Asia Pacific Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and Production, said Cebu will have a big water problem unless it cooperates with its neighboring province.
He said Bohol has a good water supply because it has a network of irrigation dams. Excess water flushes out to the sea instead of being utilized, he added.
“This was a project we wanted to put up 15 years ago with (former Cebu governor) Lito Osmeña through a BOT (build-operate-transfer) scheme. A pipeline will connect Bohol to Cebu,” Ramos told reporters in a press conference.
The project did not push through because of “cultural reasons,” he said.
Ramos said Boholanos were hesitant to supply water because they did not want Bohol to be considered as a “colony of Cebu.”
Ramos was president when the national government footed the bill for a multi-million feasibility study for the Bohol-Cebu Water Supply Project, which would cost about P3.2 billion.
The ambitious project was to bring in water from Inabanga town in Bohol to Mactan Island, Cebu through a 30-km submarine pipeline. Pumping stations would then distribute the water to other areas of Metro Cebu.
It maybe recalled that a foreign consortium, ANGLO and its partner Kinhill Brown & Root, submitted a BOT proposal to the Bohol provincial government and the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD).
But the project did not push through mainly due to the objection of the Boholanos who feared the effects of the project on the environment. They were afraid that it would deplete their own water supply.
Osmeña, who was then economic adviser to Ramos, had explained the project would only harvest the run-off water from the river before it would reach the sea.
Aside from the objections of the Boholanos, Ramos said the project also lacked investors who were willing to gamble to take on the project.
“You need somebody who’s willing to gamble in the project. Our capitalists here are siguristas…We need (people like that) for water,” he said.
Ramos said the project could still be feasible and doable if the plan to construct the Cebu-Bohol Friendship Bridge would push through.
The 90-kilometer bridge (including its causeway)  which will connect Cordova town on Mactan Island, Cebu and Getafe town in Bohol, has an estimated cost of P20 billion.
Buying water from Bohol in the year 1995 would cost P60 per cubic meter.
It would be the same cost as building the proposed 90-meter high dam in Mananga.
Cebu City Planning and Development Coordinator Nigel Paul Villarete said Metro Cebu uses 100 percent ground water unlike in Manila that uses 60 percent surface water and 40 percent ground water.
Data from the MCWD’s Water Resources Knowledge Center showed that from June 2007 to June 2008, average water production reached more than five million cubic meters per month or roughly 166,000 cubic meters per day.
More than four million cubic meters were derived from ground water, while more than 200,000 cubic meters were obtained from surface water sources.
Another 435,00 cubic meters were sourced from bulk water suppliers like Mactan Rock Industries Inc., Foremost Water and Abejo Builders Corp.
There is a dam which is supposed to provide 500,000 cubic meters of water every day but it can only give 156,000 cu m because of siltation.
Siltation, which is primarily due to illegal logging and kaingin (slash and burn farming), occurs when soil or sediment gets suspended in bodies of water resulting to muddy and dirty water.
Quoting 2004 results of the Water Remind project sponsored by the Dutch government, Metro Cebu has a total demand of 284,000 cubic meters of water every day. But MCWD can only provide 170,000 cubic meters or 60 percent –of the total demand.
Rapid economic development and population growth will increase daily water demand by more than 300,000 cubic meters in 2012.

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