Stressing that water security in Metro Manila and all over the Philippines is a critical national concern, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco lauded the forthcoming National Water Roadmap and Summit 2017 in Malacanang to be attended by various stakeholders and President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. 

Velasco made the statement as he lauded National Water Resources Board Executive Director Dr. Sevillo David and Dr. Ernesto Ordonez for spearheading the water summit in an effort to bring to the Duterte administration and to the national consciousness the importance of coming up with a national water security agenda over the next five years.

Velasco submited to the National Water Roadmap secretariat a position paper titled “Ensuring Water Security Under the Duterte Administration” that was crafted with the assistance and in consultation with Maynilad President Ramoncito Fernandez and Manila Water President Ferdinand dela Cruz.

“We hope that this position paper will contribute to the success of the water summit as part of our common advocacy to provide water security to Metro Manila residents and nearby environs in the coming years,” Velasco said.

The MWSS chief added that “organizing such an important water summit will put forward on the national consciousness, the urgency and relevance of implementing long overdue water security flagship projects like Kaliwa, Liban and Kanan Dam Projects – when properly implemented and constructed will have an accrued production of 4,000 MLD similar to Angat Dam’s 4,000 MLD that supplies 95.6 percent of Metro Manila’s water supply.”

Meanwhile, Velasco said he will formalize the formation of a Technical Working Group comprising of the three concessionaires to review the previous study made by a UP group and to come up with a doable water security roadmap for Metro Manila and its environs covering the short and long term flagship water source projects to include the possible rehabilitation of Wawa dam as a welcome addition to the existing water resource.

“The time to act is now especially when it comes to implementing long overdue new water sources like Kaliwa and Laiban dams. Let’s not wait for the day when we will be in crisis as what we all experienced two decades ago until MWSS entered into a private public partnership with Manila Water and Maynilad,” Velasco added.

Currently, 95.6 percent of Metro Manila’s water supply comes from Angat Dam and is governed by an allocation protocol to manage dam water supply sharing among domestic water use, irrigation and power supply generation. However, Angat Dam is highly vulnerable to Climate Change and other natural disasters such as the projected “Big One” or 7.2 earthquake.

Recognizing the need to reduce dependency on Angat Dam, and to ensure sustainability and reliability of water services, the MWSS and its private sector concessionaires, Manila Water, Maynilad Water and Bulacan Bulk Water, have stressed the urgent need to develop alternative water supply sources, taking into account the fact that it takes many years to plan and construct dams of significant capacities.

At present, MWSS is on pace with the completion of the Sumag River Diversion Project in 2018 that will generate an additional 2 cms inflow to Angat Reservoir, as approved in NWRB and funded by the two concessionaires. 

Another ongoing project is the Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project aimed at improving the reliability and security of the raw water through partial rehabilitation of the transmission system from Ipo to La Mesa and the introduction of water safety, risk and asset management plans.