Manila Water warns of water shortage by 2021
Manila Water Co. Inc. yesterday warned of possible water shortage in its concession area starting as early as 2021 as regulators still have not acted on its proposal to build a new water source.
Manila Water chief operating officer Geodino V. Carpio said in a briefing that in its proposed business plan for the regulatory period 2018-2021, the company intended to build a P13-billion integrated water supply facility in Pakil, Laguna.
The proposed project, called Laguna Lake Water Supply System Project or “East Bay,” will give Manila Water the additional capacity to produce potable water at 250 million liters daily (MLD).
“In our concession area, demand is growing at 40 MLD to 50 MLD every year,” Carpio said. “Without East Bay and with the government-led Kaliwa Dam project still not moving forward, we may find supply unable to keep up with demand by 2021.”
Carpio said Manila Water customers currently required 1,650 MLD, which the company was meeting with 1,600 MLD from Angat Dam and 50 MLD from La Mesa Dam.
Also, Manila Water expects its 100-MLD Rizal province water supply improvement project—located in Cardona, Rizal—to go online this coming October with an initial supply of 50 MLD.
“(The Cardona project) can only cover the increase in our customers’ demand for the next two years,” Carpio said. “From then (in 2021) until the target completion of Kaliwa Dam in 2023, where would we get additional supply?”
“This could mean that the far reaches of our concession area will experience a decrease in pressure or that 24-hour availability of water will not be sustained,” Carpio added.
Reynaldo V. Velasco, administrator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, last week hinted that the MWSS was not inclined to approve Manila Water’s East Bay project.
“(I)t will be difficult to consider a P15-billion project in Laguna Lake to produce 250 MLD against the P12.2-billion Kaliwa, which will produce 600 MLD,” Velasco told a meeting of corporate chief executives organized by the Management Association of the Philippines.
Yesterday, Carpio admitted that Velasco was referring to East Bay, but clarified that the project would cost only P13 billion, not P15 billion.
“The comparison is not apples to apples,” Carpio said. “The P13 billion for East Bay already accounts for the entire system from raw water source to the customers’ tap.”
He said that, on the other hand, the P12 billion for Kaliwa does not include the cost of distribution lines and other facilities from the treatment plant to the customers’ premises.
“If we include that, the cost of Kaliwa Dam—if it were to be an end-to-end system [from raw water source to the tap]—would reach P44 billion,” Carpio said. “That means the cost of East Bay would be at about P52 per cubic meter while Kaliwa would cost P73 per cubic meter.”
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