Barangay Natumolan in the Municipality of Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental will be enjoying potable water piped straight to their households in a year or so.

Natumolan is the 5th largest barangay of Tagoloan with a total area of 622 hectares and also its fifth most populated with a population of 7,674 (2010 Census). Among the key commercial establishments located in its area is the Mindanao Distribution Center of Fast Services Corporation.

“JE Hydro and Bio-Energy Corporation will be constructing a 5-Million Liter Daily (MLD) Water Treatment Plant (WTP) and distribution system to service Natumolan and its adjacent barangays,” said Joel A. Baldelovar, Director for Business Development of JE Hydro, in a radio interview with Magnum Radyo’s Manny Agustero last December 31st, 2020. JE Hydro is the fast emerging Water Company in the Philippines, with strong adherence in the advocacy that Access to Safe Drinking Water is a Fundamental Human Right.

Excavation and pipelaying for the Natumolan, Tagoloan Level 3 water supply project has started. (photo supplied)

Baldelovar apologized for the inconvenience the excavation and pipelaying works which have already started, while construction of the WTP will be starting this week. Construction of all works has been covered by a barangay ordinance and permits, and is expected to be completed in the next 10-12 months.

“Water will cost residents less than 3 centavos per liter of potable water piped in to their residences compared to the P25 per liter of bottled water. 1,000 liters or one cubic meter of potable water will only cost them P25,” he added.

Baldelovar said the Level III water system will deliver potable water straight from the water treatment plant to households of Brgy. Natumolan, and neighboring barangays, twenty four hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Natumolan WTP will  source raw surface water from the nearby Tagoloan River, which once treated can be used for  drinking, bathing, cooking and other personal uses.

“Raw water will undergo a series of treatments using JE Hydro proprietary technology,” Baldelovar noted. “This will ensure that the product water is potable and complies with the standards set by the World Health Organization and the Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water.”

A JE Hydro tap stand to facilitate water connections in Natumolan, Tagoloan. (photo supplied)

With its design capacity of 5MLD, JE Hydro Natumolan WTP can also service adjacent barangays  which are not yet being served by the Tagoloan Water District (TWD).

“We are capable of also servicing nearby barangays like, part of Poblacion and Baluarte,” Baldelovar said. “The Barangay Council can simply contact us to signify their interest and we will immediately send our engineering team to survey their area to further explore the feasibility of distributing potable water to their area.”

Baldelovar clarified JE Hydro does not seek to compete with the TWD, and Cagayan de Oro City Water District (COWD) which are already serving the Poblacion and Barangay Casinglot, also in Tagoloan respectively.

As of August 2020, COWD already has over 103,577 service connections. Its service area is spread over the city and the adjacent municipalities of Opol, Misamis Oriental in the west side and Casinglot, Tagoloan in the east.

Casinglot is Tagoloan’s 4th largest barangay with a total area of 680 has. and also 4th most populated (as of 2010 Census) with 8,588.

COWD rate as approved by LWUA is P21.84 for first 10 cu.m. or minimum P218.40 per month, + commodity charge of  P20.55 for additional cu.m. consumed beyond 10 cu.m., from 11-20 cu.m., P31.85 (21-30 cu.m.), P33.65 (31-40 cu.m.) and P36 (41-up cu.m.).

“For private utilities like JE Hydro, water rates are approved by the National Water Resources Board (NWRB),” Baldelovar said. “Our approved rate for Natumolan is P25 x actual volume of water consumed (e.g., 5 cu.m. x P25 = P125.) “This is more affordable for smaller households like what we have in Natumolan so they don’t have to pay a minimum rate that is more expensive than the actual volume of water they consume.”

Indahag Update

In a related development, Baldelovar said JE Hydro is merely awaiting approval of the city council plenary to approve the project so an excavation permit can be issued and digging and pipelaying can start. Construction of the WTP and distribution system is expected to be completed in the next 10-12 months.

The city council committee on public utilities chaired by Councilor Teodulfo E. Lao, Jr.  favorably endorsed the Indahag project to the plenary of the local legislative body for further consideration during its consultation held on 17 December 2020.

JE Hydro has proposed the construction of a Water Treatment Plant (WTP) with a capacity to deliver 10 million liters daily (MLD) of clean and safe potable water at no cost to Barangay Indahag.

Baldelovar said once the City Council plenary approves the project, pipelaying can immediately start and the project can start operating before the end of 2021.

“We are concurrently applying for a Certificate of Public Convenience from the NWRB to distribute water in Bgy Indahag and the 10-MLD will be sufficient to supply 10,000 households in Bgy Indahag, which will catalyze the development of its economy,” he added.

Besides a 24/7 supply of clean and safe potable water, the JE Hydro project also projects its distribution rate at P35 per cubic meter (cu.m.) compared to the P80-85 per cu.m. Indahag residents now pay for water delivered by truck to the barangay.

Baldelovar said this can be reckoned at 3.5 centavos per liter or P7 per drum vs. the P18 per drum (at 5 drums of 200 liters each which is equivalent to one cu.m. of water) or a 60% reduction of their water expenses per drum.

He explained the water rate for Indahag would be more expensive compared to Natumolan since its WTP is double in size (10MLD vs 5MLD) and the additional cost of the pipeline which would bring in  surface water from Bubunawan River in Bgy Pualas, Baungon, Bukidnon with water rights secured from NWRB for 10MLD.

It would also have higher operating costs since it requires more electricity to pump the raw water from Baungon and up the higher elevation to Bgy. Indahag.

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