(File photo)

MANILA – Water companies providing water to Metro Manila and nearby provinces have committed to improving their services in the next few years by ensuring clean and potable water is readily accessible in light of the effects of climate change and population growth.

Maynilad Water Services Inc. (Maynilad), which serves the West Zone of Metro Manila and Cavite province, is planning to spend some PHP163 billion beginning 2023 until 2027 for infrastructure projects, PHP101 billion of which will be allotted for water projects while the rest of the amount will be spent for wastewater projects.

The service improvement plan of Maynilad seeks to enhance water security, environmental sustainability, service expansion and disaster resiliency.

“A bulk of the investment will go toward developing more water sources, building more pumping stations and reservoirs and replacing old pipelines so we can deliver more water supply in response to the growing demand,” Maynilad chief operating officer Randolph Estrellado said in a statement.

Estrellado noted these projects are important because some customers in the West Zone have yet to be provided with 24-hour water service.

“We have already built 20 wastewater facilities since 2007, and we plan to build six more in the next five years so we can sustain sewer coverage expansion,” he added.

Maynilad has also allocated some PHP9.9 billion to replace 639 kilometers of old and leaky pipes in Manila, Parañaque, Pasay, Muntinlupa, and Las Piñas beginning 2023 until 2027 to upgrade the distribution system and reduce water losses.

“Our goal is to provide 100% of our concession area with 24-hour supply at appropriate water pressure,” Estrellado said.

Once completed, these pipe replacements, along with Maynilad’s leak repair and network diagnostic activities, will allow for the recovery of some 66 MLD (million liters per day) of water, which is enough to supply the water needs of almost 340,000 people.

Maynilad has started the piped-in distribution of its “New Water” in Paranaque City on Nov. 14.

Maynilad's PHP450-million “New Water Treatment Plant” produces 10 million liters of treated water daily from its Parañaque Water Reclamation Facility that is blended with the supply produced by the company’s La Mesa Treatment Plants before conveyance to Barangays San Isidro and San Dionisio.

The Department of Health -Metro Manila Center for Health Development issued a Conditional Operational Permit to Maynilad after the New Water passed a series of tests that proved its adherence to the Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water (PNSDW) and squarely met the World Health Organization guidelines on potable reuse.

“This is the first time that recycled water will be tapped as an alternative supply source to address water shortages,” Maynilad president and chief executive officer Ramoncito Fernandez said in another statement.

Maynilad is also giving a PHP1.7-million worth of rebate this December to some 35,000 Maynilad customers affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Paeng in parts of Metro Manila and Cavite between late October and early November, equivalent to a rebate of around PHP50 in their December 2022 water bill.

The rebate will offset the cost of the water that their customers consumed for their clean-up activities after their homes were flooded.

In response, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System-Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO) Chief Regulator Patrick Lester Ty commended Maynilad’s move to grant a rebate.

“We welcome the initiative of Maynilad to assist typhoon-stricken families in their time of need,” Ty said in a separate statement.

Manila Water

Meanwhile, more than 7.4 million consumers of Manila Water, which services the East Zone of Metro Manila and Rizal, were assured of safe and potable water “24/7” due to the water company’s meticulous regular sampling in the year 2022.

In September 2022, the MWSS said the water supplied in Metro Manila and Rizal province by Manila Water continued to pass the stringent parameters of the PNSDW.

The water treatment process involved microbiological, physical and chemical examinations of water samples collected from strategically designated Regulatory Sample Points in Manila Water’s source and distribution systems.

The sampling covered 99.85 percent of Manila Water’s overall water distribution.

The water firm’s Sustainability head Sarah Bergado said they are contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on Climate Action and the Paris Agreement through the company’s climate change adaptation and mitigation initiatives.

“We build our infrastructure to be climate-resilient as we endeavor to implement nature-based solutions such as watershed protection and reforestation to adapt to and mitigate climate change. In partnership with South Pole, an international climate solutions provider, we are developing our net zero and decarbonization roadmap to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain,” Bergado said.

Manila Water has also received a “Management B” rating for its 2022 CDP Climate Change and Water Security Disclosures, and has improved its Climate Change rating from Awareness level (C) to Management level (B) while maintaining the management level rating in Water Security.

The CDP, formerly Carbon Disclosure Project, aims to make environmental reporting and risk management a business norm, driving disclosure, insight, and action toward a sustainable economy.

Manila Water’s B rating on the CDP Score Report on Climate Change for 2022 is now above the Asia regional average of C and also higher than both the global average and the non-energy utilitiy sector average of C.

The water company also garnered a B rating on the CDP Score Report for Water Security for 2022 which is in the management band.

This is the same as the Asia regional average of B but higher than the non-energy utility sector and global average which are both at C rating.

The B ratings received by Manila Water exemplify the company’s strengthened climate actions, a solid testament to the efforts to address risks and opportunities brought about by climate change as well as the firm’s steadfast commitment to provide 24/7 water and wastewater services to customers within its service areas.

The CDP Worldwide is a not-for-profit charity that runs a global disclosure system for companies to measure and manage their risks and opportunities on climate change, water security and deforestation, and is a valued partner of the United Nations in collecting data in relation to efforts done towards its Sustainable Development Goals.

Meanwhile, Manila Water has completed more than 750 "Tubig Para Sa Barangay" (TPSB) projects benefiting close to two million customers from urban poor communities, including informal settlers and low-income households, as of Oct. 27.

Besides the “24/7” water supply, the TPSB program has weeded out illegal connections which were very rampant before the takeover of Manila Water of the operations of the MWSS pre-privatization. (PNA)