SMC offers its unused Angat Dam water quota to ease Manila shortage
MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corp. (SMC) has offered its untapped water allocation from Angat Dam to end the shortage being experienced by over six million people in Metro Manila’s east zone, the head of the country’s largest conglomerate said Friday.
In a statement, SMC president Ramon Ang said its Bulacan Bulk Water Treatment Plant can deliver up to 140 million liters of clean, treated water to areas affected by the shortage if his proposal is approved by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).
“This situation is unfortunate and dire for many of our countrymen who do not have access to basic water,” Ang said. “Many are affected: Households, hospitals, schools, businesses. Right now, the best thing we can do is to pull together and help each other.”
Last January, SMC began operations for the first stage of its Bulacan Bulk Water Project that, once completed, is meant to supply water to 24 Bulacan water districts at P8.50 per cubic meter — the cheapest bulk water charge in the country.
Ang explained that currently, the first phase of the project has a production capacity of 200 million liters per day.
However, as many water districts have yet to upgrade and prepare their facilities to receive water from the bulk water facility, only about 60 million liters per day are being utilized at present.
“This leaves an excess capacity of about 140 million liters per day, which is enough to serve the average daily requirements of two million people or about 455,000 households,” the said. “As a quick response to the situation of customers of Manila Water, we will coordinate with the MWSS and local government units to secure permits to place water refilling stations in affected areas.”
Among the areas affected by the shortage are: Mandaluyong (all barangays), San Juan (5 barangays), Pasig (7 barangays), Angono (3 barangays), Antipolo (10 barangays), Taytay (3 barangays), and Binangonan (12 barangays). The list is expected to grow as the water crisis is anticipated to prevail until July.
The proposed undertaking will be a logistical challenge since moving 140 million liters per day will potentially involve 14,000 truck trips per day using 10-kiloliter (kl) tankers, or 7,000 trips per day using 20-kl tankers.
“For this, we need to acquire several container trucks to deliver water,” he said. “Again, we will work and coordinate with the MWSS and LGUs on this. We hope to be able to implement this plan at the soonest possible time.”
“However, in order to fully utilize the capacity, it will be necessary for us to open the Bulacan Bulk Water facility to allow 3rd party suppliers to source potable water and assist in delivering water to affected communities,” he explained. “This will require clearance from MWSS as concession grantor. We will also need to coordinate with the LGUs for the organization and management of water filling stations.”
If approved, the quick-response plan can be implemented for the next four months until the end of the current El Niño phenomenon.
SMC also said it is willing to explore long-term solutions to the water problem, and contributing to government’s efforts to develop new water sources to prevent a similar crisis from recurring. /kga
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