Maynilad earmarks P7B for La Mesa upgrade
Maynilad Water Services Inc. yesterday said it was spending about P7 billion for the upgrade of its La Mesa Water Treatment Plant complex in Quezon City.
The two-unit facility can produce 2.5 billion liters of water daily, provided to Maynilad’s customer base of nine million connections.
In a statement, Maynilad chief operating officer Randolph T. Estrellado said investment in additional treatment technologies was necessary given the “dramatic shifts” that climate change could bring on the quality of raw water.
“With this upgrade, water service to our customers will no longer be affected whenever turbidity level in the raw water increases,” said chief operating officer Randolph T. Estrellado.
Estrellado was referring to a key measure of water quality, based on the haziness resulting from the amount of particles present in the liquid but were mostly unseen with the naked eye.
The La Mesa plants get raw water from the dams in Angat and Ipo, both in Bulacan. Maynilad said turbidity level increased due to soil erosion in the watersheds after heavy rains or due to the scraping of mineral deposits from the dams’ bottom.
Expected to be finished by 2020, the La Mesa upgrade involves enhancing the facility treatment capacity, retrofitting structures for improved earthquake resiliency, and automating processes for more reliable operations.
Ramoncito S. Fernandez, Maynilad president and chief executive, said the La Mesa upgrade formed part of the company’s P42-billion capital expenditure plan for 2013 to 2017.
“We are pursuing our capex projects despite the delayed implementation of the tariff adjustment because we have an obligation to our customers, and that includes pursuing the projects that will sustain improved service levels for current and future water consumers,” Fernandez said.
He was referring to a decision of a three-member arbitral tribunal of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), issued on July 24, which “unanimously (upholds) the validity of Maynilad’s claim (for compensation) for the delayed implementation of its relevant tariffs for the rebasing period 2013 to 2017.”
The water service provider said the tribunal ordered the government through the Department of Finance to reimburse Maynilad P3.42 million for losses from March 11, 2015, to August 31, 2016.
On Dec. 29, 2015, an appeals panel presided over by the ICC awarded Maynilad an average increase of P3.06 per cubic meter —on top of the current basic rate of P31.28 cubic meters—for the five-year rebasing period.