MWSS Chief Regulator: Rising population, no new water source caused Manila Water’s supply shortage

Robie de Guzman   •   March 13, 2019   •   1636

The Chief Regulator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) on Tuesday (March 12) revealed that the rising population in Metro Manila and lack of new water source caused Manila Water’s supply issues.

Atty. Patrick Ty wrote on his Facebook account that Manila Water has previously warned of possible water shortage if they will not have a new water source in the future.

To those affected by the water shortage recently – Manila Water is being given 1600mld allocation from Angat Dam…

Posted by Patrick Ty on Monday, 11 March 2019

“Manila Water has been warning that there will be a looming water shortage if we don’t have a new water source soon, they announced it again just last year,” Ty said.

The MWSS official noted that back in 1997, Manila Water was given an allocation of 1,600 million liters per day (mld) from Angat Dam, which is the main source of water in Metro Manila. Maynilad, on the other hand, was given 2,400 mld.

However, Ty said the rapid population growth over the years had led to higher demand for water.

“Due to increasing population, Manila Water’s requirement is now at around 1750mld. Their allocation of 1600mld is not enough. So they used their reserve water, which is the La Mesa Dam,” he explained.

“Since it hasn’t been raining, their reserve is not being replenished. This is the reason why we have a shortage in Manila Water side,” he added.

Earlier, MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco questioned Manila Water’s statement blaming El Niño for its supply woes.

Velasco said data does not match Manila Water’s explanation because among the dams that supply water to Metro Manila, only the La Mesa Dam water level is rapidly declining.

Velasco added the possibility of a leakage in Manila Water’s pipes.

But according to Ty, the water concessionaire’s supply problem is more complicated, citing oppositions of some groups to the construction of additional dams in Luzon.

“Metro Manila has no new water source because of oppositions to Kaliwa Dam, Laiban dam etc.,” Ty said.

The Kaliwa and Laiban Dams are part of the Duterte’s administration’s “Build, Build, Build” Program to address the increasing demand for domestic water supply and ensure long-term supply for Metro Manila and nearby areas.

Environmental groups have asked President Rodrigo Duterte in 2018 to stop the construction of the P19-billion Kaliwa Dam, fearing that the project would displace communities in Quezon and Rizal.

Ty also said that Manila Water was able to reduce its non-revenue water (NRW) from 60 to 12 percent, which has addressed the increasing population in the east side of Metro Manila.

“The population keeps increasing and they can’t reduce it below 12% anymore (international standard is 20%),” he added.

Manila Water also admitted on Tuesday (March 12) that aside from the effects of El Niño, delays in projects designed to boost its supply led to the water shortage in eastern Metro Manila.

“It is correct to say El Niño aggravated it. Because there is so little rain nowadays,” Manila Water COO Geodino Carpio said, adding that rainfall could have replenished the La Mesa Dam, which serves as their reserve water source.

Carpio said delays in Kaliwa Dam and the Cardona Treatment plant, supposed to draw water from the Laguna Lake, have forced them to use their emergency supply from the La Mesa Dam.

It is also impossible to increase their supply from Angat Dam due to the volume limitation of the tunnels linking it to Manila Water’s plants, Carpio said.

The water shortage that hit parts of Metro Manila and Rizal for nearly a week now has affected thousands of households in parts of Metro Manila and Rizal Province.

READ: Long queues, water recycling: How are Filipinos coping with water shortage?

Maynilad has earlier agreed to share its supply to help address Manila Water’s limited supply. — Robie de Guzman

Duterte to use ‘extraordinary powers’ to resolve water shortage

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 29, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday (October 28) that he is prepared to use expropriation or outright police power to resolve the worsening water shortage.

“I will use the extraordinary powers of the presidency. I could not just allow people go out without water even for drinking,” he said.

The president said he is reviewing all options which can resolve the water shortage in Metro Manila and other provinces and he is prepared to expropriate or impose outright police power of the state.

This includes pushing for the Kaliwa Dam project which has been opposed by local governments and environmental advocates due to the possible flooding and displacement of indigenous people.

The president said that the local government who are opposing the said projects should put up safeguards to ensure sufficient water supply.

“It [the project] might create some danger or damage but that is not my concern. My concern is the welfare [of the people]. Ganito iyan (It’s like this): The greatest good for the greatest number,” according to Duterte.

Water concessionaires are currently implementing rotational water interruptions due to the low water level in Angat Dam.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Malacañang: Kaliwa Dam project may be cancelled if…

Marje Pelayo   •   October 28, 2019

A Filipino mother belonging to the indigenous Dumagat tribe carries a baby along a makeshift bridge over a river in the Sierra Madre mountain range, Quezon province, Philippines, 15 May 2019 (issued on 24 May 2019). EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The government may opt to abort the Kaliwa Dam project if it leads to violation of public interest, according to Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a statement on Monday (October 28) said the government is in the process of reviewing the project plan after it received several complaints regarding its implementation.

“If the findings show that it is indeed disadvantageous and against the interest of the people there, then it can be rescinded,” Panelo noted.

Nevertheless, the Palace is confident that China would understand should the Philippines decide not to continue the construction of Kaliwa Dam.

Environmental groups and local officials are opposing the Kaliwa Dam project in Tanay, Rizal citing environmental destruction and displacement of Indigenous Peoples group in the area. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

MWSS says Manila Water, Maynilad not allowed to pass on penalties to consumers

Robie de Guzman   •   October 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) on Friday clarified that Maynilad and Manila Water are not allowed to pass on to consumers any amount of financial penalties that the Supreme Court imposed for violation of environmental laws.

The Supreme Court earlier imposed more than P900 million fine for each concessionaire, as well as the MWSS, for their non-compliance of the Clean Water Act over their failure to put up sewage lines and sewage treatment facilities in the previous years.

They were also ordered to pay a fine of P322,000 per day for every day of their non-compliance with the Clean Water Act.

“The agency reassures the public that financial penalties imposed by the SC may not be passed on to consumers. It is clearly provided for in the concession agreement,” MWSS chief regulator Patrick Ty said. The SC in its decision last August also ordered the MWSS to pay a fine for the violation.

The MWSS made the statement following reports that water rates will increase as a result of the SC ruling.                                                                                                           

Ty assured that whatever additional costs that concessionaires will bear in order to comply with the high court’s ruling will not be passed on to consumers until the next rate rebasing.

“We also audit them and we also engage a third-party audit firm to audit the books of the concessionaires to ensure that they will not be able to recover this expense,” he said.

The chief regulator, however, said that whatever prudent and efficient expense that concessionaires may incur in completing facilities and building of sewerage treatment plants in compliance with the court’s ruling may be passed on to consumers but only after the next rate rebasing in 2023.

“We can also do an expiration payment. that means the two concessionaires would be able to recover the said expense at the end of their concession terms instead of a having it increase, a sudden increase in the water rates,” Ty said.

“’Pag hindi po to prudent and efficient, hindi po ito papayagan na ipasa sa publiko,” he added.

Rate rebasing is done every five years. It is a review of the water utilities’ past performance and projection of their future cash flows to set the water rates at a level that would allow concessionaires to recover their expenditures and earn a rate of return referred by the concession agreements as the appropriate discount rate.

Manila Water on Friday clarified that the company never stated it will pass on fines to consumers, adding that the 780-percent increase included in its motion for reconsideration against the ruling “is what it would have cost to build wastewater facilities to comply with the Supreme Court Decision subject of our Motion for Reconsideration.”

Maynilad and Manila Water have filed separate appeal in court. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)  


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