FDC eyes desalination to ease Cebu water shortage
MANILA -The Gotianun conglomerate is keen on developing a desalination plant in Cebu to help alleviate the water supply problem in the Philippines’ second largest metropolitan area.
FDC Utilities Inc. (FDCUI), a unit of Filinvest Development Corp., hopes to start soon the construction of the desalination facility with capacity of 80 million liters per day (MLD), FDCUI president and CEO Juan Eugenio Roxas said.
“Hopefully, we will get that off the ground. The most expensive water is no water at all,” Roxas said at a water security forum hosted by Stratbase ADR Institute.
Even if the desalination process is expensive, FDCUI is forced to undertake the project as Metro Cebu’s bulk water supply is only 270 MLD against the demand of 570 MLD, according to Roxas.
“It is going to be blended with the existing supply of the water districts, so it is not going to be that expensive,” he said. “So as we speak, there is a shortage of 300 MLD.”
Constructed in 1911, Buhisan Dam is the lone bulk source of water in Cebu, the province where the late Filinvest founder, Andrew Gotianun Sr., started the Filinvest group.
“It is now prohibited to dig deep wells but even if you have to dig, it is contaminated with saltwater,” he added.
Roxas said FDCUI had desalination projects that have existed for the last five years although these were small-scale ones.
Making seawater potable
To recall, in July 2021, the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) awarded a 25-year bulk water supply contract to FDCUI to deliver potable water to Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City and Talisay City.
The company is expected to provide desalinated seawater to MCWD in the following volume: 30,000 cubic meters per day (CMD) for Marigondon, 30,000 CMD for South Road Properties in Cebu City and 20,000 CMD for Talisay City.
It earlier said the desalination facilities would process seawater using the high-recovery seawater desalination technology of its partner Hitachi Ltd.
“Cebu is an island surrounded by the sea, tapping its abundant water source will provide access to water of the appropriate quality and quantity, allowing MCWD to close the gap on its supply deficiency,” Roxas said back then. INQ