We will comply to the marching orders of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to solve the water shortage in 150 days and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) together with its concessionaires – Manila Water, Maynilad and Bulacan Bulk Water will do its best to meet his expectations.

We perfectly understand the presidential order to immediately resolve the problem to ease the problem of the consuming public.

In line with his order, the MWSS through the approval of the National Water Resources Board has actually added 2 cms to the 46 cms released daily from Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water systems which can only accommodate 4,000 million liters daily (MLD).

Angat Dam supplies Metro Manila 4,000 million liters of water per day.

The Concession Agreements give Manila Water an allocation of 1,600 MLD for its 6 million consumers and Maynilad with 2,400 MLD catered to its 9 million consumers.

That is a total of 4,000 MLD, divided into 40% and 60%, which is based on the actual amount that Angat can give with the existing infrastructure involving aqueducts and pipeline systems.

Manila Water is getting its allocation of 1,600 MLD but its requirement is now pegged at 1,750 MLD due to increase in demand in consumption and population growth. The present problem could have been averted had Manila Water’s 100 MLD Cardona Treatment Plant would have been operational since October 2018.

In the previous months, it has been sourcing its deficit water from La Mesa Dam but due to the lack of rains, La Mesa Dam was depleted.

Yesterday, Velasco met anew with top officials of Manila Water and Maynilad to address promptly the nagging problem of distribution to affected areas in Metro Manila.

In a special board meeting last Thursday, the MWSS Board of Trustees chaired by Franklin J. Demonteverde adopted the short-term and long term measures presented by  MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco to address the water shortage in the East Zone area being operated by its concessionaire Manila Water which has a water supply shortfall of 150 million liters daily from its allocation of 1,600 MLD from Angat Dam due to increase in population and demand of consumers:

Among these measures are:

1) MWSS has requested the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) through its Executive Director Sevillo David to allow Manila Water to activate 101 deep wells which can supply 101 million liters daily to its consumers. The NWRB has approved this request and Manila Water has started energizing and activating these deep wells.

2) MWSS requested Maynilad to allocate 50 MLD and share water through cross border flow to ease the problem and augment the water supply needs of Manila Water including the deployment of water trucks to affected areas that will service or benefit 50,000 households in Quezon City, Paranaque and Taguig.

Last Friday, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo led the initial opening of the cross border flow along with MWSS Administrator Velasco, Maynilad President Ramoncito S. Fernandez, and Manila Water President Ferdinand M. de la Cruz. The cross border will initially provide additional 20 MLD to Manila Water’s supply this March and full 50 MLD by April.

3) MWSS has also directed Manila Water to activate and operationalize its Cardona, Rizal treatment plant which was originally operational in October 2018 enough to provide additional 100 MLD to its consumers. Manila Water President Dela Cruz announced today that Cardona Treatment Plant is now energized with initial 24 MLD and will be fully operational with 50 MLD by end of this month.

4) About 38 water tankers are delivering water to very hardest hit areas with LGUs vigorously helping in delivering water thru water tankers in their respective areas affected by water shortage.

5) Maynilad is giving additional 10 MLD of their raw water allocation from the portal.

6) San Miguel Corporation’s Bulacan Bulk Water through its President Ramon S. Ang has stepped in to help ease the plight of affected consumers in Metro Manila by providing potable water through deliveries of trucks to affected communities using its untapped 140 MLD in coordination with MWSS and LGUs.

“We wish to assure the President that MWSS is doing its best to solve the water shortage problem and we are putting to task Manila Water to give us a definitive timeline of solving their distribution and operations systems to bring back to normal level the water supply to ease the suffering of the consuming public,” Velasco said.

He also reiterated that short and long term solutions for Metro Manila’s water supply demand are now in place and on pace under the Duterte administration to provide enough and sufficient water to supply the future needs of the 20 million residents in metropolis and nearby provinces serviced by its three concessionaires in the next 10 to 15 years.

“Admittedly, we are on a catch up mode as far as water supply source is concerned since our main source which is the Angat Dam that supplies 96 percent of water to Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal was built in 1967 and no major water source has been built since then except for some water supply projects from Laguna Lake by both Maynilad and Manila Water,” the MWSS chief said.

He said that it’s only over the last two years under the Duterte administration that serious efforts have been put in place to push for major water flagship projects such as: the 600 MLD Kaliwa Dam, the 500 MLD from Wawa Dam, the 800 MLD to be sourced from unutilized water from Angat-Norzagaray, the 350 MLD from Bayabas Dam as well as 500 MLD from Laguna Lake.

Meanwhile, the MWSS chief clarified that the so-called “bypass” has been open all along these times following a viral post in social media involving MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty and a netizen.

According to MWSS, the bypass is already opened regularly particularly because the La Mesa dam level is low. In fact, most if not all of Manila Water’s 1600 mld now probably goes through the bypass.

Last year, Manila Water and Maynilad had issues regarding the bypass that resulted with MWSS mediating between the two concessionaires after Maynilad complained that it was getting less than 60%, causing its Bagbag Reservoir’s level to fall, and affecting its service area.

Contrary to perception, the 60:40 split is not maintained throughout the day. Maynilad produces more at night because it has the Bagbag reservoir to fill up and use during the day. While Manila Water produces more during the daytime. It is the Common Purpose Facilities (CPF) that controls the bypass that regulates this sharing.