WATER SUPPLY DEFICIT. A repair and maintenance team of the Metro Dumaguete Water (MDW) conducts a replacement of a defective gate valve in this undated photo. The MDW has reassured city officials that it is currently undertaking projects that will address the water supply deficit in Dumaguete City. (Photo courtesy of MDW)

DUMAGUETE CITY – The Metro Dumaguete Water (MDW) has reassured city officials of its competence and technical expertise in resolving the water supply shortage in this Negros Oriental provincial capital.

The MDW is a joint venture company between the Dumaguete City Water District (DCWD) and Metro Pacific Water Investments Corporation.

MDW information officer Kathleen Young Ricardo on Wednesday said the assurance came after the city council invited the MDW to shed light on its operations and the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) with the DCWD.

Young told the Philippine News Agency that the city currently has a water supply deficit of 14 million liters per day.

“The current demand for water in Dumaguete City is 56 million liters per day (MLD) and currently we are just producing 42 MLD,” she said.

MDW is now embarking on projects that would fill the gap in the demand and supply in the city, she added.

These include the ongoing construction of two deep wells at two new pumping stations inaugurated this year in the outskirts villages of Talay and Cadawinonan. Once completed, these will supply the city with an additional eight million liters of water per day, hopefully by the end of the year.

On top of this, the water utility firm is also laying down new pipes and installing new water meters, Ricardo said.

The MDW also has to address its systems loss of 41 percent of the current daily water supply in the city, the improvement of water pressure, and the establishment of water zones.

The city council invited the MDW to its regular session on Tuesday due to a public clamor on the current water system status here and the increased rates.

Ricardo said the MDW would have wanted to expound more on the operations of the water firm before the city council, but there was not enough time for this as the legislators appeared to be more interested in the JVA.

Ricardo said MDW chief operating officer David Barba briefed the council on the nature of the Joint Venture Agreement, saying it is “allowed between government entities and private companies for the purpose of achieving a specific goal under the 2013 Revised NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) JV guidelines”.

Under the JVA signed last September 2019, DCWD assigned its rights as the franchise holder to allow Metro Pacific Water (MPW) to rehabilitate and operate the water system here for a period of 25 years in the wake of a decreasing water supply that started to be felt in 2018.

The JVA provides that MDW, as operator of the water system, is 80 percent owned by Metro Pacific Water while DCWD, which regulates MDW operations, owns the remaining 20 percent, Ricardo said.

Berba, however, could not give specific figures, citing a non-disclosure agreement between the two agencies.

“We were prepared to answer all the questions that the councilors may have regarding (our) operations, but the councilors were apparently more concerned with how the decision was made to enter into the JVA,” Berba told reporters here.

DCWD general manager Eric Diaz declined the invitation to appear before the council, saying he has “limited knowledge on the matter” as the JVA was forged by the former management and Board of DCWD.

“We were also able to clarify impressions of some councilors about the relationship between MDW and DCWD, whereby DCWD remains the owner of all the assets of the water system in Dumaguete and whatever assets MDW will be procuring, such as our new water wells, will be turned over to DCWD after the 25-year partnership,” Berba said. (PNA)