By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco has told Manila Water Company, Inc. and Wawa Dam proponents business tycoon Enrique K. Razon and Oscar Violago of Prime Infra to sit down and discuss how to go about the construction of a new water source in Rizal.
“While indeed the present low water level at La Mesa precipitated also by El Niño is a grave concern, and poses a big challenge to government to produce the water immediately needed, the Wawa Dam is set to produce an additional 520 MLD [million liters per day] and the implementation of Manila Water’s 80 MLD supply of water for consumers in the East Zone, untangling the legal impediments that can bar Manila Water from making ready its water supply by 2012,” Velasco said.
He added that the development on the partnership of Manila Water and the Razon group before coming up with a memorandum of understanding has been encouraging considering that Prime Infra has already agreed to yield all water treatment responsibilities to Manila Water.
“There is an indication of an increased water supply to more than 500 MLD if technical arrangements on design and capex deployment can favorably and cooperatively be agreed by MWC and Prime Infra,” said Velasco.
The MWSS chief added that he is now duty bound to exercise extraordinary means to prompt and convince stakeholders, particularly Manila Water and Prime Infra, to immediately finalize their cooperative agreement in a month.
“On this end, I will enable our regulatory mechanisms to consider changes and flexibility in the rate rebasing procedures,” Velasco said.
“With due consideration on safeguarding the integrity of our prudent and efficient regulatory procedures, and at the same time, maintain reasonable and affordable water rates for the consumers,” he added.
For his part, Manila Water President and CEO Ferdinand M. Dela Cruz welcomed the proposed joint venture with Prime Infra even he expressed optimism that with the new Wawa Dam, there will be enough water supply in the East Zone of Metro Manila in the near future.
“We hope to finalize our initial agreement with Prime Infra by the end of the month,” he said.
With a growing demand for Manila Water’s supply at 1,750 MLD, supply from La Mesa Dam, which is Manila Water’s reserves, has gone to critical level.
About 4,000 MLD from Angat Dam is being shared by the two concessionaires with Maynilad getting 60 percent equivalent to 2,400 MLD serving 9 million residents and Manila Water with 40 percent at 1,600 MLD.
The water at La Mesa Dam continues to drop with the onset of El Niño, dropping at 68.93 meters, breaching the 69-meter critical low level.