By MADELAINE B. MIRAFLOR
West Zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad) has turned further to Laguna Lake as it now finds it “too risky” to depend on the 52-year-old Angat Dam amid lack of new water sources.
In a statement, Maynilad said it will invest as much as ₱10 billion to start the construction of another water treatment plant that will tap water from Laguna Lake.
The treatment plant, which has long been in Maynilad’s drawing board, will be built in Poblacion, Muntinlupa, and is set to produce 150 million liters per day (MLD) of potable water. This would be enough to supply the water needs of some 150,000 households.
Once completed in the last quarter of 2022, the facility will bring Maynilad’s total yield from Laguna Lake to 450 MLD.
“We are doing everything we can to meet our service obligations to our customers. So although we have to recast our five-year investment program, we still have to pursue projects essential for meeting the water supply requirements of a growing population,” Maynilad President and CEO Ramoncito S. Fernandez said in a statement.
“It is a huge risk to rely on just Angat Dam as major source of raw water for Metro Manila,” he added.
Maynilad began tapping water from Laguna Lake in 2010 as an alternative raw water source so it can reduce its dependence on Angat Dam.
Metro Manila currently gets its water supply from the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water system. Of this, Angat Dam supplies 97 percent of Metro Manila’s water needs.
Fernandez said that his company is now “working closely with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System [MWSS] so that the development of another source can be facilitated.”
Right now, Maynilad has two water treatment plants that draw water from Laguna Lake.
Once the aforementioned facility is completed, Maynilad will have a total of five water treatment plants with a combined production capacity of about 2,850 MLD for its over 9.7 million customers in the West Zone. Of this, three are situated near Laguna Lake.
The construction of the third plant was slated to start last month, while the construction of the fourth plant would be the company’s major contingency measure if the Kaliwa Dam won’t happen in the next two years.
“Our agreement with MWSS is if we feel that Kaliwa Dam is being delayed, we will not sit down [and just wait]. We will proactively promote another water source,” Fernandez said in an earlier interview.
The new water source, he said, may involve tapping another 300 MLD from Laguna Lake.
“In 2021, if we see nothing is happening, we have to make our move [and start building another plant]” he further said.
The ₱12-billion Kaliwa Dam project has been pegged by the Duterte Administration as the top solution to Metro Manila’s recurring water supply woes.
Meanwhile, the total investment of West Zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad) on wastewater alone already reached ₱41 billion since the company’s privatization in 1997.
The company said this amount was particularly spent on the construction of 19 new wastewater treatment facilities, upgrade of three existing ones, and the construction of four additional Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) that are currently being built in Valenzuela, Las Piñas, and Tunasan and Cupang in Muntinupa.
During this period, Maynilad also purchased 89 new vacuum trucks for septic tank cleaning, installed 180 kilometers of new sewer lines, and invested further on the maintenance of the sewerage system.
Because of these investments, the company said it was able to expand its sewerage services to some 2 million people by end of 2019, up from only around 600,000 people served with sewerage services in 1997 when Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) operations were first privatized.
“Maynilad only got out of corporate rehabilitation in 2008, so we had just 11 years to work on expanding wastewater services. Despite this, we have managed to build new wastewater facilities that now prevent untreated effluents from polluting our waterways. This is where all the bill payments of our customers go,” said Maynilad President and CEO Ramoncito S. Fernandez.