The new aqueduct La Ferroviaria will be inaugurated on Saturday, December 9, 2017, in Machala. It is one of the most important municipal works in recent years to serve the city’s drinking water supply service. The Municipality estimates that 250,000 inhabitants, of the 350,000 that the city has, will benefit from the work.
Mayor Carlos Falquez Aguilar argues that Machala’s problem is not the quality or quantity of water, but the distribution. That’s why the old aqueduct that was 36 years old was changed. It was a cement asbestos pipe, with breaks in many sections and that could not stand the increase in water pressure for homes. The new aqueduct of Machala has two lines of 5.5 kilometers in length, with ductile iron pipe of 900 and 600 millimeters (mm). These lines -from the mother pipe- lead the liquid to hundreds of Machaleño neighborhoods.
Falquez points out that it is the first time in the history of the city that a change of these pipes is made. “We did it because it was necessary, it is a work that cannot be seen, but for me the aqueduct is the most important work I have done in my administration; water means health, well-being, living better and quality of life “.
The Mayor made these statements during the presentation of the plan of works for journalists of national media on Saturday, December 2. That day was the lighting of the Christmas tree of the city, 32 meters, and the announcement of the inauguration of other works such as the aqueduct and the land terminal by the end of January or the beginning of February 2018.
The city has two sources of drinking water supply. One is the La Esperanza regional plant, located in the Pasaje canton. The catchment is in the river Casacay, it is treated in the plant and from there it is conducted to the El Vergel tanks, in El Guabo, to pass through the El Cambio parish where it is connected to the 900 mm pipeline to Machala. And the second source of capture is 14 underground wells to the El Cambio treatment plant and connects to the 600 mm pipeline.
In the new aqueduct and its complementary works, Empresa Aguas Machala EP invested USD 11 million. Since August 2015, when he assumed the administration of the potable water and sewerage service, he has invested USD 18 million in total. Between 2013 and 2015 the company Tripleoro had been in charge of the system.
Hugo Armijos, manager of Aguas Machala EP Company, indicates that the supply problem was the poor quality of the pipeline. Now with the new aqueduct the water pressure increased by 70%. And it is not done 100% because the pipes from the collection plants are still old. For example, three sections of new pipes are required from La Esperanza. That project has a cost of USD 49.1 million.
The company estimates that 85% of the population has service. But it will seek financing to continue the other stages of the aqueduct. Today you can ot increase all the pressure because the old pipe would break. In addition, it has ‘black losses’ of 40% for damage to the pipeline.
According to Armijos, there are neighborhoods where service was improved with the new aqueduct such as La Primavera, Los Vergeles and Velasco Ibarra where the water did not reach the second floors of the houses or people pumped to fill the cisterns. Carlos Jaramillo, resident of the Victorio Rizzo citadel, in the north of the city, says that for 14 years he suffered from shortages. He had to pump every day, to have water, but for 20 days he normally arrives at his house. “We are grateful to the Mayor and happy because I no longer have to pump water,” he says.
But the works of the aqueduct also generated water cuts, as in Puerto Bolívar, during the last week of November. The Mayor states that the pipe had to be broken to lower the water levels and leave the pipe completely dry. This caused the sediments of the earth to appear, which caused the liquid to come out dirty when the service was reconnected. But he calculates that in the coming weeks the water will be completely clean in different sectors. (I)