Depletion of water supply at the Buhisan Dam in Cebu City is more pronounced and conspicuous under the prevalent heat wave in the country.

Death of freshwater fish that had thrived for some time in the dam was also noted. These dead fish float on whatever water is left that collects in pools. 

Also visible is the thick mud and sediment that settled in the bottom of the dam. 

Surface water in Buhisan is one of key sources that feed supply for the city’s water services. But a big area has now dried up. The catch basin which used to be filled with water fed by a number of tributaries of the Buhisan forest reserve appears to be a football field. 

The canopy of trees have grown thinner while foliage is reduced to a rich brown from what used to be a verdant scape with the prolonged hot months.

Based on data from the Metro Cebu Water District, 54,000 cubic meters of surface water are lost daily to both the demand and the high heat.

Aside from Buhisan Dam, there is also the Jaclupan Dam in Talisay City in the Province of Cebu where production has reduced to 10,000 cubic meters only from 30,000 cubic meters, according to Minerva Gerodias, spokesperson of MCWD. 

Receding water level and weakening water pressure lead to the interruption of water service in franchise areas of the water utility; thus, MCWD initiated water delivery service. 

Despite water scarcity, there are barangays in the city that have chosen to be kind especially to neighbors in distress. 

In Barangay Calamba, GMA Regional TV Balitang Bisdak observed of residents by the roadside lining up water containers. Residents Brenda Zapanta and Ariston Gutas said they are waitiing for the water ration from kind neighbor, Barangay San Nicolas Proper. 

After dealing with water scarcity in nearly two months now, they are glad that rationing of water from adjacent San Nicolas Proper is possible.

The water distribution is an initiative of San Nicolas Proper Chairman Clifford Jude Niñal as the barangay draws from a deep well and store the supply in tanks. Water has been distributed free to 13 sitios (sub-villages) of Calamba, and other barangays who have sought help. 

To further deal with the water crisis amid the drought, MCWD said that water that went through desalination process with the help of partner stakeholders will be available to consumers by end of April or first week of May 2024.