Administrator Esquivel said that Bulakenos’ water woe is a solvable problem with a very tangible solution. This has transitioned into reality as getting potable water will no longer be a struggle when future supply from surface water source is only a few months away.
The MWSS recently awarded to San Miguel Corporation–K Water consortium, the P24.4 Billion Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project (BBWSP), a public-private partnership project. The Consortium offered the lowest bulk water charge of P8.50 per cubic meter besting the bids of the 2 other bidders, Prime-Alloy Water Consortium and Team Polaris-Manila Water.
The award accomplishes several important goals for the government, particularly the MWSS and the Local Water Utilities Administration, for the Water Districts (WDs) in Bulacan where water requirements of half of the 2.9 million population have remained unmet.
Under a build-operate-and-transfer agreement, the SMC-K Water Consortium will finance, design, construct, and maintain the conveyance and treatment facilities and water source in Bulacan for a 30-year concession period.
How the Award Will Help Bulacan
The water supply in the province of Bulacan greatly depends on groundwater sources. All of Bulacan’s municipalities and cities are served by water systems of their multiple WDs. Except for Obando and Meycauayan WDs that are supplied 90% by Maynilad, all the other WDs are abstracting ground water for distribution. Without an alternative source of supply, WDs experience a decline in well-yield and deteriorating water quality due to high-saline intrusion.
For lack of reliable water source, water production cost has remained high. The WDs charge an average tariff of PhP 19.00 per m3 for the initial consumption of 10 m3 per connection per month, the highest at 39.00 per m3. Higher tariffs are imposed by WDs per block increase of 10 m3 of water consumed, which generally affect the business and industrial customers. The BBWSP model is unique in this respect because it provides critical partnerships across the public and private sectors making use of a very low bulk water charge for MWSS customers in Bulacan.
The Consortium will initially utilize the 2.6 cms and 1.9 cms from the water rights of the MWSS and the Provincial Government of Bulacan, respectively, for a total of 4.5 cms raw water from Angat Dam. The Consortium shall likewise develop additional raw water source/s to meet the total demand of the WDs in the coming years.
Implementation of BBWSP is divided into 3 implementation stages as follows:
- Stage 1 shall cover the six (6) municipalities and cities of 1) Balagtas, 2) Bocaue, 3) Marilao, 4) Meycauyan, 5) Obando, and 6) San Jose del Monte City.
- Stage 2 shall cover the city of Malolos and the municipalities of (1) Bulakan, (2) Calumpit, (3) Guiguinto, (4) Sta Maria, (5) Paombond, and (6) Plaridel
- Stage 3 shall cover the municipalities of (1) Angat, (2) Baliwag, (3) Bustos, (4) Hagonoy, (5) Pandi, (6) Pulilan, 97) Norzagaray, (8) San Miguel, (9) Dona Remedios Trinidad, (10) San Ildefonso, and (11) San Rafael.
The treated bulk water supply system will include, among others, the following components:
(a) Construction of interconnection structures;
(b) Development of new water source/s including raw water conveyance
(c) Construction of water treatment plant/s (WTPs) and ancillary
(d) Construction of treated water reservoirs;
(e) Construction of pumping stations;
(f) Construction of treated water transmission mains, including line
(g) Installation of flow metering devices; and
(h) Installation of appropriate measurement and monitoring stations.
Indeed the solution to the economic, social, environmental and health concerns of Bulacan is not far behind with adequate water supply from the BBWSP.