Nowcasting Cebu City's Water Crisis

Authors: Charles McGlynn*, Rowan University, Kauser Jahan, Rowan University
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Water Resources and Hydrology, Asia
Keywords: Water, saltwater-intrusion, Asia, Philippines, privatization, Cebu, overpumping
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Galerie 5, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In this decade of change, Cebu City continues to undergo rapid population growth and historic investment and economic development. In the Philippines second largest city, this growth has come at great cost as measured by the over-pumping of the Carcar aquifer beneath it. This rich, limestone formation is the basis of city’s supply, but is under increasing duress. The 2010 Cebu Water Study is revisited here with fresh interviews of scientists, public officials, residents, and stakeholders. New water tests throughout the metro area offer an update to the changing freshwater – saltwater interface under the city. In the Queen City of the South, the Small Scale Private Water Provider industry, that sprouted in response to the Carcar’s degradation, is also rapidly evolving. Today major industrial players including Nature’s Spring, Nestle, San Miguel, PepsiCo and Coca Cola now offering strong competition to the “mom and pop” operations that sprang up nearly unopposed a mere decade ago. In response to the abundant mass market offerings now ubiquitously available in grocery and Sari-Sari stores alike, the SSPWP’s have increasingly moved both downscale, to individual servings from “peso-dispensers” in plastic baggies, and up market into the 18.9-liter home delivery segment. Not surprisingly, there is consolidation taking place in the dynamic SSPWP segment itself and anecdotal evidence of more changes to come in the maturing water market. Cebu City’s water crisis will be revisited from a variety of perspectives in this presentation which will also offer a glimpse of what the future may hold.

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