By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is studying and may soon approve the possible tariff impact of port magnate Enrique Razon’s Wawa Dam project – the only sure water project to come online in 2021 – to the customers of Manila Water Company, Inc.
The MWSS Regulatory Office (MWSS RO) started to conduct a series of public consultation, the latest two sessions both held this week, regarding the possible tariff impact of the proposed Calawis-Wawa Dam.
According to MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty, the estimated possible tariff impact of the project is P1.37 per cubic meter (/cu.m) to P1.40/cu.m, which will reflect in the billings of Manila Water customers starting 2023.
Recently approved by the MWSS Board of Trustees, the Calawis-Wawa, being undertaken by WawaJVCO, will have a capacity to treat 80 million liters per day (MLD) and is among the new water sources eyed for Manila in the medium term.
WawaJVCO is the joint venture company of Razon’s Prime Infra and Violago’s San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders and Developers Group (SLRBD).
The Wawa Bulk Water Supply project will be done under a private off- take arrangement between WawaJVCO and Manila Water. Meaning, all the water treated in the said dam will be sold to the Ayala-led company for distribution to its customers.
Ty said the tariff increase brought about by this project will be applied in the next rate rebasing period.
Done every five years, rate rebasing is a review of the water utilities’ past performance and projection of their future cash flows. Its purpose is to set the water rates at a level that would allow companies to recover their expenditures and earn a rate of return.
The next rate rebasing will be in 2023 since the previous rate rebasing review was only conducted last year.
In an earlier statement, Prime Infra assured that the tariff impact of Wawa Bulk Water Supply project is expected to be very minimal since the total systems cost of the project will be cost-effective compared to other water sources options because of the strategic location of the water supply source within the east zone concession. The company, however, didn’t disclose the project cost.