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MARCH 25 01



Serving a fast growing city and its neighbors

By Wenceslao E. Mateo Jr.

THE Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) has been serving the potable water needs of Iloilo City and several neighboring Iloilo municipalities for quite a time. Some 23 years now, to be specific.

province of Iloilo in the present service area of MIWD, just at the outskirts of the City of Iloilo, are Oton, Maasin, Cabatuan, Santa Barbara and Pavia.

But MIWD's oozing presence is not stopping there. Just lately, according to MIWD public information officer Olive Ledesma, the government controlled water utility has already extended its service lines to Barangay San Jose in the municipality of San Miguel.

As things are going, we can even say without the least doubt that MIWD's services will still be going beyond that leap in the near and far future.

The powers-that-be behind its helm envisions MIWD to be "the premiere water utility company in the region", necessarily both in the quality of potable water provided and service areas covered.

This vision takes form from its mission "to promote better quality of life by providing adequate, safe and potable water in the community", among others.

As of October 31, 2000, MIWD is serving a total of 16,070 active service connections, all metered.

Overall, MIWD's present average monthly water production is 730,327 cu.m., which is comfortably higher than the average monthly consumption of 575,075 cu.m.

That MIWD has been doing its job quite well may be gleaned from a recent Candidates' Forum for the city's mayorables.

Every candidate talked of problems with the traffic, environment, urban poor housing and squatters' resettlement. But nobody ever said the city has any problem with potable water.

The "search for efficiency continues", an MIWD press release said. But, MIWD already deserves our special pat on its shoulder for that great thing it has lately accomplished. After 23 years of its existence, it has finally come up with something its consumers have long been deprived of - a water treatment plant and system.

With this water purification project, the water consumers are assured of ample supply of crystal clear water all the time.

The pulsator-type treatment plant, the first of its kind in the Visayas region, is situated at the MIWD reservoir in Talanghauan, Santa Barbara.

It has the capacity to produce 37,000 cubic meters (cu.m.) of purified water per day, or a monthly average of 1,100,000 cu.m. This production capacity is about twice the average daily consumption in MIWD's area of coverage at present, which is about 19,169.16 cu.m.

Works for the P600 million water treatment plant started in September 1996. And was expected to be finished in 1999 (or even earlier, another source said). Winning bidder, and Contractor, for the construction of the plant was the China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE).

The plant was not, however, completed until August 2000, when also its operations started.

The delay was blamed on the very low contract price, which affected the financial position of the Contractor in pursuing to finish the project.
MIWD director Lorenzo Jamora observed that the Contractor was caught by a series of drops in the peso value, vis-a-vis the US dollar, in 1997 to the next year, which made difficult the acquisition of many materials.

Supply delivery and installation of water treatment facilities and equipment, on the other hand, was contracted with Degremont, a French company.

The project was financed to its full P600 million cost by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Philippine Government under a P2 billion loan package for 8 water districts in the Philippines.

The water purification project was part of the Phase 1-C project of MIWD, which also consists of several other installations and construction works.

Like the installation of a 27-kilometer transmission line from the Maasin Dam to the reservoir in Santa Barbara to Iloilo City. The improvement of intake structure and apron of the Maasin Dam. The installation of 7.5 kilometers of 15mm in diameter of new distribution pipelines. And the construction of mini filter plants for Maasin and Cabatuan.

The interconnections of the new pipelines to the existing lines have already been completed.

With this water treatment plant, MIWD General Manager Le Jayme Jalbuena is assuring the consumers of the District that their water supply will undergo a complete treatment for surface water sources.
With the completion of the whole project, the system will be able to meet the 633 liters per second projected demand of the District for year 2000 and the next.

Jalbuena has also announced the transfer of the MIWD laboratory to Talanghauan, Santa Barbara. Acceptance and analysis of water samples are now being done at the treatment plant.


The present MIWD General Manager, Engr. Le Jayme Jalbuena, assumed office only on September 25, 2000.

He is married to the former Dr. Rosario Zenia Lira, a dentist.
Jalbuena replaced former GM Moises Molen Jr., who retired from the service on September 23, 1999. The Board of Directors, however, extended his term for another year due to the District's Phase 1-C water supply improvement project. When Molen finally bidded adieu, he had behind him 20 years of dedicated service to MIWD.

A native of Lapaz, Iloilo City, Jalbuena is a geodetic engineer by profession. He finished the course at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. He pursued further studies on Watershed Development and Management at the University of Arizona, U.S.A., as well as on Biomass Production at Florestal Acesita sa Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Jalbuena had been department head at the defunct Farm Systems Development Corporation.

The year 1926 saw the birth of the waterworks system in Iloilo. September 16 of that year, Commonwealth Act. No. 3222 was approved authorizing the Provincial Government of Iloilo and selected municipalities, to be covered by the proposed service area of a waterworks system, to provide funds through the issuance of bonds of the Insular Government to be guaranteed by the province and the municipalities.

Iloilo Metropolitan Waterworks (IMWW)
The system, then named Iloilo Metropolitan Waterworks (IMWW) was constructed in 1926 and completed in 1928 with a total bonded indebtedness of P1,200,000 and a total project cost of P1,277,000.
Administered and controlled by the Provincial Government of Iloilo, the waterworks system consisted of structural facilities to include a dam, sedimentation basin, and a reservoir. It had a transmission line, 18 inches in diameter, from the dam to the reservoir with a carrying capacity of three million gallons per day. The initial water service connections totaled less than a thousand.

The IMWW was administered by the Provincial Government of Iloilo for 27 years.

National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA)
In 1955, however, Republic Act No. 1383 was approved creating the National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) with the objective of consolidating and centralizing the operation of all waterworks systems throughout the country under one control, direction, and general supervision. It was a public corporation existing as an independent agency.

That same year, the administration of the IMWW was also transferred from the Province of Iloilo to the NAWASA whose administration lasted until 1970.

During the NAWASA administration, two infiltration galleries were constructed, one in 1963 and the other in 1969, with the total cost of P844, 930 financed out of the savings of the Iloilo Metropolitan Waterworks.

The two infiltration galleries provided additional water supply of 2,000,500 gallons per day, thus improving the service for the succeeding five years.

Thereafter, the service became insufficient to match population growth and development of the City of Iloilo.

The 15-year old management of NAWASA ended when Republic Act 6234 was approved creating the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and abolishing the NAWASA.

Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS)
The MWSS administered the operation of the NAWASA from 1971 to 1978. However, like its predecessor, it had not undertaken any major improvement that would meet the development of the City and its burgeoning population.

There still was a need to make the water system more responsive to the growing demands of its growing communities.

Somehow, the management had to be improved and the water utility had to be weaned from local political control and influence.
Based on the findings of the 1969-1972 study of the water supply system, the old government-controlled water utility was found to be mismanaged. It oftentimes became a dumping ground for "political lameducks", and the water it supplied was far from safe.

All the problems that saddled the water system, however, finally found their solutions in the promulgation of Presidential Decree 198 on May 23, 1973.

P.D. 198 authorized the formation of autonomous water districts and the creation of the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), a government corporation aimed at providing water districts financial, technical and skill-training assistance.

On September 18, 1978, there was a simultaneous turn-over of the water system from the MWSS to the City Government pursuant to P.D. 1405 and from the City Government to the Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) in accordance with the provisions of P.D. 198.

Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD)
The year 1978 may be considered as the turning point for the water system in Iloilo.

With assistance from LWUA, MIWD was able to undergo institutional development in all systems of operation. Improvement projects were undertaken to meet rising water demands of the consuming public of Iloilo.

In 1986, the Phase 1-A Immediate Improvement Project was completed with the construction of four deepwell pump stations with a combined production of 115 liters per second (lps). A central chlorine station was installed adjacent to the 568-cubic meter elevated steel tank for the four wells. It also included the installation of 20 kilometers of pipeline from Mandurriao District to Molo Plaza going to Arevalo Plaza and down to Timawa-Delgado and Valeria Streets in Downtown Iloilo.
In 1994, the 76-kilometer pipe-laying was completed with the installation of 22-kilometer PVC pipes and 54-kilometer cement-coated concrete steel pipes under Phase 1-B improvement project with a total cost of P29 million.

Three additional wells in Oton, Iloilo, including the pumping stations were completed in April 1993 under Phase 1C-3 improvement program. These three wells have a combined production of 90 liters per second and were connected to the existing distribution network which became fully operational in the last part of 1993.

In 1998, MIWD served a total of 16,000 active service connections; all of which were metered. By then, it had installed 45 gate valves and 20 fire hydrants.

The surface water source until today comes from the dam in Maasin while its ground water supply is being generated by the infiltration galleries in Talanghauan, Santa Barbara and Ungka, Pavia and the 7 wells in San Miguel and Oton.

On the other hand, the existing transmission mains consisted of a total of 54.85-kilometer long CCI, steel and PVC pipes with diameters ranging from 200-600mm. The distribution lines totalled 170.53 kilometers with diameters ranging from 50-600mm, also of the same materials.

In the latter part of 1997, MIWD started the implementation of its P209 million Phase IC-1 and 2 projects. This was financed by the Asian Development Bank under a two (2)-billion loan package for 8 water districts in the Philippines.

It consisted, among others, of the construction of a state-of-the-art pulsator-type water treatment plant with a capacity of 37,000 cubic meters per day; the installation of 27-kilometer transmission line from the dam in Maasin to the reservoir in Santa Barbara to Iloilo City; the improvement of the Maasin intake structure and dam apron; the provision of a cover to the existing reservoir in Santa Barbara; the construction of a booster pump station; the installation of 7.5 kilometers of 150mm to 200mm in diameter of new distribution pipelines; the construction of pumping stations with standby power and chlorine facilities; the installation of valves and other appurtenances; and, the installation of approximately 10,294 new service connections.

China International Water and Electric Corporation, a Chinese contractor that won in the bidding, was tasked to finish the project within 720 calendar days.

With the completion of the water treatment plant in August 2000, water supply from surface water sources to Iloilo has since then been undergoing a complete treatment.

The completion of the whole project has also enabled the system to meet the 633 liters per second projected demand of the District for the year 2000 to the next.

(ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The author is greatly indebted, for practically all vital data and information in this report, to MIWD, particularly to GM Engr. Jalbuena, ASST GM for Operations Engr. Villasis, and PIO Olive Ledesma. All pictures accompanying this report are also courtesy of MIWD.