Villar, Ayala vie for water supply deal for Baguio | Inquirer Business
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Villar, Ayala vie for water supply deal for Baguio

/ 06:42 PM September 29, 2013

BAGUIO CITY—Water companies owned by former Senator Manuel Villar, Lucio Tan and the Ayala Group of Companies have expressed interest in supplying potable water to the summer capital, an initiative started in July by businessman and Maynilad Water Services Inc. chair Manuel V. Pangilinan, the Baguio Water District said.

Salvador Royeca, BWD general manager, said Villar’s Prime Water Infrastructure Corp., which services subdivisions, and Ayala’s Manila Water Co. Inc. had notified BWD and the Baguio government that they were planning to conduct feasibility studies of the city’s water consumption.

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Water distribution in parts of the city is rationed because the population, which has grown to 300,000 residents, has exceeded resources, BWD records show.

But BWD has developed new deep wells, which increased its supply capacity from 25,000 cubic meters of water per day (cmd) to 60,000 cmd, Royeca said.

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He said the city might not need a massive infusion from a bulk water supplier, although it remained a major option for the future.

“We suppress everyone’s per capita consumption of water (by rationing supplies) so we survive, but until when?” he said.

“Maybe we could start [receiving fresh supplies from a bulk water supplier] amounting to an additional 20,000 cmd,” he said.

Pangilinan, who is also chair of Philex Mining Corp., first discussed his interest in BWD’s bulk water supply project in June this year.

The bulk water supply project was initiated in the 1990s, shortly after the July 1990 earthquake devastated the city and damaged major utilities, according to BWD records.

The project, however, has been snagged since 1998 by litigation over tariff and a challenge to the bidding process from an investor.

Royeca said it was unclear if the ongoing lawsuit would affect the project itself. “But everything is still exploratory. (The water companies) sent us their letters of interest and the next stage is to conduct feasibility studies,” he said.

He said the water companies had not provided BWD with information as to where they would source the water. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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TAGS: Ayala Group of companies, Baguio, Baguio Water District, Business, News
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