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Smart meters for Capitol-run water systems
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Friday, January 15, 2021

Digital technology will soon be a fixed feature in water distribution systems to be run and managed by the Cebu Provincial Government from now on through its Cebu Provincial Inter-LGU Waterworks Systems.

The initiative to employ smart technology to be more efficient and professional in the delivery of basic services is another first for the Capitol.

Smart water meters use wireless technology so readings can be done remotely while ensuring accurate data. These will also provide immediate information on leaking and water wastage.

Smart meters also eliminate manual readings and estimated bills. 

“Electronically, ang kada cubic meter nga gikunsumo that would feed into our own central system so that on a cut-off date the bills will also be automatically generated to be distributed to the different households,” Gov. Gwendolyn Garca explained in a press conference on Thursday, January 14.

“Kana na lang ang atong magastohan ang distribution, ug unya payment - mag-put up gyud ta’g operation center didto diin pwede sila ka-apply. But ang payment can be done through Kwarta Padala direct to the Treasurer’s Office,” she continued.

A leeway to payment is assured similar to how electric bills are collected.

“Duna ta’y ihatag nga leeway upon receipt, parehas ba sa Cebeco (Cebu Electric Cooperative), pila ka days, kon dili nimo mabayran mo-automatic shut-off tong meter until mabayran to nimo imong bill,” Garcia said.

The governor committed to have this started within the first quarter of the year.

Smart meters will also be installed in the 14 communal faucets in Carmen as there are households that cannot afford the installation of water meters in their homes.

“Butangan ta na’g water meter nga prepaid. So mopalit ka’g bali’g P20, mu-agas lang pud og bale’g P20. Mura lang gihapon ka’g nagsag-ob og tubig ba. This way, there is proper payment and accountability sa kada kunsumo,” Garcia said.

“Kay ang lisud man gud anang communal (free water), wala man gu’y moangkon sa kunsumo. Wala sa’y motabang og bayad. Mag-away pa. Mao bitaw tong ingon ko nga ipa-Level III para kada household mo-account for their consumption. Pero, we cannot discount nga naa man gyuy dili maka-afford,” she pointed out.

The governor has decided on the use of smart water meters to avoid the common hitches that come with manual reading.

“Usahay dili mabasa, usahay mabasa unya dili mao. Nya daghan kaayo ta’g ibutang nga meter readers,” she said.

Provincial Inter-Lgu Waterworks Systems

Governor Garcia thanked the support of the Vice Governor and the Provincial Board (PB) in the ratification of Resolution No. 2021-01 on creating the “Cebu Provincial Inter-Local Government Unit (LGU) Waterworks System.” 

The approval of the resolution will now initialize an operational manual and the framework of the waterworks system. 

An office division will also be created which might eventually become a water services department once operations grow province-wide.

The PB’s approval of the resolution on Wednesday, January 13 is seen as an answer to Cebu’s growing demand for potable water, especially Carmen which provides water to Metro Cebu through its Cantumog-Luyang River yet faces a shortage of supply.

“We take it as a responsibility to effectively provide basic services and facilities, one of which is the inter-municipal waterworks. Considering the need of our Cebuanos for enough potable water supply, it is therefore our duty to provide them this basic need of water through a waterworks system operated by the Province,” 2nd District PB Member Edsel Galeos, author of the proposed resolution, expressed during the special session.

The Provincial Government, through its Economic Enterprise Council (EEC), created the Cebu Provincial Inter-LGU Waterworks System. It is set to operate and manage an inter-municipal water system and office under the Office of the Governor.

In an open forum held in Carmen on January 8, Garcia announced the Capitol’s move to run the town’s Level 3 waterworks system after seven of the town’s councilors refused to give their mayor authority to sign an agreement with the Cebu Manila Water Development. Inc. (CMWDI).

The Capitol’s P50-million waterworks project in Carmen is set to provide water to eight barangays that have suffered from the lack of water supply for years. The supply will be taken from the transmission pipes of CMWDI.

Phase 1 of the water system worth P20 million was inaugurated last December 14 to supply water to Barangays Poblacion, Cogon West, Cogon East, and Baring through a communal faucet.

In its second phase with a budget of P30 million, it will provide water to Barangays Luyang, Dawis Sur, Dawis Norte, and Puente through faucets in each of the total 8,000 household beneficiaries. (Eleanor Valeros)