Powering water PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 01 February 2016 11:38

BY BOB JALDON

 

Los Angeles, CA. — The water rationing scheme, a yearly calvary for Zamboanga, is better than having no water at all, as in Africa, and Flint, Michigan where water supply has been tainted with lead that has led to massive poisoning, especially among children.

Edgar Banos should not run out of reasons to justify why water is rationed due to the drought. This shouldn’t be happening had the people who ran the Water District listened to the pseudo experts hanging around barbershops and coffee shops who annoyed them with predictions on the impending water shortage unless the water firm built a dam to hold water to be released during crises.

They’ve replaced corroding pipes with non-lead ones, contracted private companies to develop our water supply that’s not at all too late in coming and have addressed the system’s losses. By mid-year, as projected, water supply will stabilize not only within city limits but also in water-deprived barrios that don’t have a water system.

We should also urge the District to re-launch a fierce field campaign against the use of booster pumps (by the rich and influential) that siphon water from their neighbors leaving Pobre Juan with only “viento” in his faucet.

For lack of laboratory facilities, the District has not been able to do water-scarcity research. With Zamboanga in an extended major, alarming drought that has ruined hectares upon hectares of agricultural crops, the District is working closely with the private sector toward a sustainable future. Our faucets are clogged up because everybody uses them. Now, we are forced to reduce water use by 40-something percent. We’ve been doing this year after year whenever the drought alarm is raised. OMG, we’ve even outstripped California in reducing water consumption.

Watering of lawns and plants have been restricted to three times a week. I wonder how the city government would manage the plants, some of rare and native species, at the Pasonanca atrium. But despite the lack of rain, or none of it until June, Zamboanga has managed to survive. I call this “Wise Water Management.” That’s why Mr. Banos will never run out of reasons to appease water consumers.

So much for water. Now, power.

The entry of giant San Miguel Corporation is an assurance that Zamboanga will have enough power source when the Zamcelco contracts with Mapalad Power and TMI expire in April. The only problem is that the 36 megawatts from SMC will come in August yet. What will happen in the interregnum?

Also in the power news, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has approved the Terms of Reference (TOR) that will allow Zamcelco to bid for an Independent Management Contractor (IMC) to conduct an Enhancement Program in the electric cooperative to boost its financial viability. This will pave the way for the construction of the baseload coal-fired power plant by Alsons Power Group through the San Ramon Power Inc. (SRPI). This $200-or so million investment will start, barring unnatural events, in June and is projected to be completed in 2019.

The SRPI plant will be imbedded in Zamboanga that will provide all of the city’s energy requirements for at least 25 years, ensuring that Zamboanga WON’T HAVE BLACKOUTS till the end of time. The power lines won’t have to criss-cross Mindanao, as will SMC’s that’s based in Davao del Norte. The other Alsons embedded power plant in Zamboanga is the Western Mindanao Power Corp. (WMPC) situated in Sangali. Presently, Zamcelco is drawing 50 megawatts from WMPC. PORESO, NO HAY QUITA ESCURIDAD!

Because WMPC and, eventually, SRPI are embedded power plants, we need not worry about transmission lines being bombed by saboteurs and rendering Zamboanga power-less for days or weeks on end.

By the way... Zamboanga has been left out again in the government’s development of new airports. I thought our mayor (she reminds me of a character in “Minions”) had clinched this project as she so announced last year. We have always been like this — systematically left out by the central government because we can’t seem to play ball with the powers-that-be. Three examples: our opposition to the presidency of Ferdinand E. Marcos; the betrayal to PGMA’s candidacy vs. Fernando Poe, Jr. ; and our negative stand on the BBL.

Then maybe, just maybe, Mr. Rodrigo Duterte is right.