If you have studied and lived in Iloilo City, particularly at CPU, then I’m sure you have experienced the flood that’s been as perennial as when the rainy season comes.
When monsoon rains come, students anticipate the coming of the flood because they’re sure the Jaro River will overflow.
Classes would then be postponed for a day or couple of days depending on the amount of flood waters, debris and how fast the clean-up would be.
When there were few people around Lopez Jaena area and surroundings were cleaner, students just love to wade and walk the flooded streets and inside CPU campus.
The familiar flood scene would then be some female students wearing their shortest shorts walking while male students at their best spot watching and talking who’s got the hottest legs in campus.
It’s not advisable to do that nowadays.
The clogged drainage, old and leaking sewer and sewage systems (if there’s one), bad waste disposal and waste management practices make wading into the flood unhealthy and could even be fatal.
Flooding problem complications
Through the years, Lopez Jaena Street is not only beset with flooding that occurs annually (or biennially) courtesy of the monsoon rains.
The last time I was in the area, waste water seems to flow continuously onto the street from homes and business establishements. Also, a few minutes of raining would cause flooding in several portions along Lopez Jaena Street. I hope that the situation had changed.
Storm sewers are either dysfunctional or having been designed and constructed decades ago, it can’t convey the amount of runoff anymore.
At the onset, had the city government instituted water utility infrastructure management, they could have built the infrastructure design that meets future changes in population and public needs.
There are many factors being considered in sewer designs, let me mention two factors that could have been considered:
Student population growth
CPU student enrolment grew from 9,132 in 1997 to 13,506 in 2005. From then on, student population never went below the 10,000 mark. The 2013 enrolment is 13,000 students.
Of course, this is discounting the resident population along Lopez Jaena Street and across the Jaro river bank, which could number to several thousands.
Rise of businesses
Along with the growth of student population, hotels, dormitories, boarding houses proliferated.
Eateries, convenience stores and business establishments along Lopez Jaena Street have become the dominant sight.
Just imagine the implication of these two factors in water needs and waste water volume.
Ideal infrastructure management scenario
Perhaps decades ago, when there were more open spaces and a few hundred people living around CPU, our city infrastructure management services engineers should have given weight on the future changes.
Maintenance or even renewal of infrastructures could have been quite manageable fiscally and structurally.
Now, it would cost millions to construct and update the present sewer and sewerage system along Central Philippine University and Lopez Jaena.
Also, following best infrastructure management practice, holistic and not piecemeal solution to infrastructure problems must be emphasized.
Infrastructure management engineers might not recommend fixing the infrastructure challenges along Lopez Jaena Street and CPU areas without thinking of its implication to the total system of Jaro District in particular and Iloilo City in general.
Nevertheless, it’s not yet too late to get infrastructure management expert counsel save millions of infrastructure funds.