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Jagna waterworks assessed (part III)

Discussion on the LGU-run Jagna Waterworks System centering on its current state of affairs involves the aspect of Human Resource.

Currently, there are 18 personnel assigned to the JWS with only 6 with regular employment. The remaining 12 are on job order (JO) status. JWS claims that their personnel are dedicated but the insecurity of tenure, lack of training, low salary for those on JO status affect the quality of these personnel.

Human resource development forms an integral part of the overall capacity of a system. For JWS to be efficient, it must have a fully trained, fully knowledgeable staff to do the operation work. With JO status, although trainings are provided staff turnover is fast. People come and go. The training provided to the JO who left goes with him. Another training should be done to capacitate the new entrant. This take time and money making the JWS suffer in its operations as well as financially.

Another condition that define the current situation of the JWS is its financial state. Funding conditions for utility development has little priority. The tariff rates applied by the JWS compared to other water utilities is very low while the cost of service provision is twice that of current rate applied per cubic meter.

Collection is not very efficient and collection days are long. The LGU has to spend a substantial amount to subsidize the operational expenses.

There have been investments infused but the. LGU cannot fully support all capital requirements to make the JWS fully function as efficiently as it desires to be.

The management of the JWS unlike the Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) and the Market which are governed by bodies such as the ISWM Board and the Market Board, has an inactive Jagna Waterworks Management Board. The JWS headed by the Municipal Planning and Development Office, an office that is multifunctional, cannot really isolate itself and focus on the needs of the waterworks which at this time is really in need of attention. The JWS Management Board has to be reactivated to craft policies in the governance of the utility.

The JWS lacks, as part of management systems, preventive maintenance; updating of water master plan; strict enforcement of disconnection policies; written operations manual for policies, systems and procedures. A service contract policy however is in force starting 2009 to new connections.

Moves to update the JWS are being implemented. Items deemed priorities were adopted. A partially automated/computerized billing system is in place; financial ring-fencing has been adopted; financial management guidelines are being implemented. These initiatives have produced better results in terms of financial and operational measures.

The present administration is making water a priority project initially drawing up a Water Master Plan. New sources of water are being sought for future tapping; tariff rates set by the Sangguniang Bayan in 2001 are now due for revision by the current SB.

A total of 8,885 of Jagnaanons are covered by the current JWS. Jagna has a total population of 32,034 indicating a huge potential for JWS to expand.

Based on the assessment, the five-year Business Plan of the JWS has the following priority areas: water availability; water potability; water source conservation; distribution system integrity, customer service, human resource and management systems as well as financial health.  

Strategic goals identified are: increase water production; provision of safe and potable water; upgrading of water distribution system; protection of watershed; and quality service.

This administration of Mayor Fortunato Abrenilla has identified water as a priority project as this affects an array of services if left out and not managed properly. The local chief foresees that the demand for water will increase as the town progresses. With available budgetary flexibility, JWS is assured of its share as Mayor Abrenilla is really pushing for reform and development of Jagna’s waterworks system.

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