4,000 VIWAD consumers waterless for three days

TOP: The flash flood unleased by heavy rains brought by the “tail” of super typhoon Odette last Friday morning, Dec. 17, 2021, prevented Virac Water District personnel from crossing the swollen river to inspect the intake of its water source. BOTTOM: The intake of Cauayan water source on the same day when the VIWAD personnel finally got through. VIWAD images

Personnel of the Virac Water District finally removed debris obstructing the intake tank of the Cauayan source last Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021.

The VIWAD management had initially thought it would take a month to restore water supply to uptown barangays with 4,000 consumers who had been without potable water since Friday.

The repair crew finally reached the mountainous area above Calatagan Tibang last Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021 and got to work.

It will take a maximum of one month to remove debris blocking the intake of the Cauayan source in Virac, which means 4,000 consumers in the upper poblacion barangays will remain waterless.

This was the assessment of Virac Water District (VIWAD) General Manager Gabriel Tejerero after the district’s personnel finally reached the mountainous area above Calatagan Tibang last Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021.

Several hours of rain unleashed by the trailing end of typhoon Odette last Friday triggered flash floods in the rivers and streams in the mountains as well as low-lying areas of Virac and other towns.

The swollen river in Cauayan prevented personnel of the water district from an initial assessment of the damage but it later subsided to allow them to reach the intake area.

Efforts are now underway to remove the debris from the intake and transmission pipes, GM Tejerero stated in an interview last Sunday morning.

A check with the Virac Synoptic Station of the Philippine Astronomical, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) showed that a day after the typhoon’s outer rain bands reached Catanduanes on Dec. 16, local weathermen recorded a total of 135.7 millimeters of rain during a 24-hour period beginning 8 AM of Dec. 17.

The following day also brought 74 mm of precipitation in the capital town.

Despite being 400 kilometers away from Odette’s path, the storm still brought maximum sustained winds of 36 kilometers per hour to the island on Dec. 18.

Under PAGASA’s classification system, the rains of Dec. 17 and 18 were categorized as heavy, requiring a “red” rainfall advisory.

Under that classification, more than 30mm of rain observed in an hour is expected to continue for the next two hours, with serious flooding expected in low-lying areas.

The 30mm of rain is equivalent to about eight (8) gallons of water falling on a one square-meter area within an hour.

For the deluge of Dec. 17, it would be equal to about 36 gallons of water dumped on every square meter of land for every hour.

Among the areas flooded were portions of the national highway in front of the Virac airport, near the junction to the airport itself, the area in front of Camp Camacho and the provincial hospital, and in San Vicente.

The usually-flooded Sta. Elena barangays were spared as the flood water was diverted by the existing flood wall from San Roque to Francia towards the river at the Capilihan boundary.

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