Metro-Vigan water is safe, sufficient — GM Barba

by Edward B. Antonio

VIGAN CITY – Metro Vigan Water District (MVWD) General Manager Ruby Barba has assured its more than 11,000 concessionaires that water supply is safe and sufficient in the Metro Vigan area inspite of its growing number of customers and the impending coming of the summer season.

This she confidently said during a media interview held at her MVWD office this weekend, saying that water supply for Metro-Vigan is safe, potable and sufficient.

We have 2 surface or ground water sources and 9 pumping stations to continually serve our concessionaires in the Metro Vigan area consisting of the towns of Sta. Catalina, San Vicente, Bantay, Caoayan and the City of Vigan. We have a 24-hour chlorination procedures tested every month and also physical and chemical testing every now and then, and to date, we yet have to receive reports of customers afflicted with water-borne diseases” she said.

She admitted, however, that during peak hours from 6:00 to 8:00 in the morning, water supply sometimes dwindle that’s why the MVWD will be drilling another well in Tagipuro and put up two more overhead tanks to solve the problem. There are also cases of murky water coming out of the household faucets.

“We are continually changing old pipes and monitoring all illegal connections so as to give the best service to our more than 11,000 concessionaires. There are also cases of murky water coming out as a result of the breakdown of water pumps, but these are readily solved by flushing through our hydrants,” she said.

Asked on the asset status of the MVWD, she said that “it’s gaining” and its assets have reached more than P30 million, but unlike other GOCCs (Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations) like the SSS and the GSIS, the MVWD follows the Salary Standardization Law by which personnel receive their salaries and bonuses according to their salary grades.

“There were only 4,000 concessionaires when I became manager in 2009, now it’s more than 11,000. We have improved from Category C to Category B, too.We have not raised the price per cubic meter since 2003, it is still P215 from zero to 10 cubic meter consumption and P25 to 26 per cubic meter in excess. Our collection, so far, is good, but there are still those illegal connections in the old Castilian houses and if they will be discovered, there will be penalties and payments depending on the assumption on how long these illegal connections have been operating. We go to court in their 3rd offense” she said.

She also expressed her optimism in expanding the MVWD water services to other towns “provided these towns have sufficient water sources,” and even the possibility of tapping water from Banaoang, but she said this would need a lot of funding including the putting up of a water treatment facility.

She said that concessionaires have 14 days to settle their bills; no disconnections in one month non-payment and they can only be disconnected in the 2nd month with a penalty of P350 but no reconnection fee is charged if reconnected within the next 24 hours.

“That’s why in order to give our best services, I encourage our concessionaires to pay their bills on time, report to us any leakages and in case they have problems, they are free to call or visit us at our office,” she said.

The MVWD started as the Singson Waterworks and Sewerage System in 1914 and became the Vigan-Bantay Water District in 1975. It is an independent GOCC in which its operational funds come from its collections. It operates under the Local Water Utilities Administration.#