Around 40,000 households in Cebu City’s highland and mountain barangays will now have a steady supply of water with the opening of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District’s Lusaran Water Depot last Sept. 18, 2022.

Atty. Jose Daluz III, MCWD Chairman, said the Lusaran Bulk Water Project is a significant undertaking since it is the only facility apart from the Buhisan Dam built in 1910 that sources its supply within Cebu City. Most of the water in Cebu City has been imported from other local government units (LGUs), he said.

Atty. Jose Daluz III, MCWD Chairman, talks about the Lusaran Bulk Water  Project.
Atty. Jose Daluz III, MCWD Chairman, talks about the Lusaran Bulk Water Project.

The Lusaran water depot will serve Apas, Lahug, Busay, and parts of Kamputhaw as well as nine other mountain barangays, according to Acting MCWD General Manager Stephen Yee.

He explained that the project, a joint venture agreement between MCWD and JE Hydro and Bio-Energy Corp., involves bringing water down from the Lusaran River using a 30-kilometer pipeline up to the depot in Busay.

20T cubic meters daily

JE Hydro & Bio-Energy Corp. Chairman and CEO Joffrey Hapitan said the plant can supply 20,000 cubic meters of good quality water per day.

Despite the challenges, Hapitan said they were able to successfully complete it on time. He cited heavy rains, landslides, pandemic restrictions, and elevation as among the obstacles they had to overcome during the construction.

“We started from Lusaran, then Cambinocot, then Agsungot, Binaliw, up to Pulang-bato, and Budlaan. The highest elevation is 1,200 feet. Water pressure on the pipe would reach 500 psi in some parts, when the normal pressure in other MCWD lines was only at 20 psi,” he pointed out.

Mayor Michael Rama said the opening of the Lusaran water depot is a welcome development, citing several other big projects lined up for Cebu City.

Water for mountain barangays

From the Lusaran depot, water will be brought down through another 2.8-kilometer pipeline up to JY Square in Barangay Lahug that is currently being laid down by MCWD contractor JFAP Construction.

Another contractor involved in the project, M.E. Sicat Construction, Inc., is also set to install two modular tanks, each with a capacity of 3,000 cubic meters.

Daluz said the Buhisan dam generates 8,000 to 10,000 cubic meters of water daily but Cebu City’s current need is 180,000 cubic meters. The Lusaran Bulk Water Project, with its capacity of 20,000 cubic meters, will be a much-needed addition to the supply.

The mountain barangays that will benefit from the project include Agsungot, Binaliw, Budlaan, Pulangbato, Guba, Malubog, Cambinocot, Lusaran, and Paril.

MCWD covers covers as its franchise area the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Talisay as well as the towns of Compostela, Consolacion, Cordova, and Lilo-an.

Marlen is the editor of and co-founder of Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media.