Manila Water begins massive clean-up of San Juan River

Published January 29, 2021, 5:00 AM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

East zone concessionaire Manila Water Company Inc. launched its massive clean-up at the San Juan River as part of the deal it signed with the national government and three local government units (LGU).

In a statement, Manila Water said it began to activate its Adopt-an-Estero program with various interventions to clean up the San Juan River beginning at Maytunas and Ermitanyo Creeks in Barangay Addition Hills, San Juan City.

The program is in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the local government of San Juan City.  

MANILA WATER’S ADOPT-AN-ESTERO PROGRAM COMMENCES WITH SAN JUAN RIVER CLEAN-UP – Photo shows (from left )Manila Water President and CEO Jose Rene Almendras joined by San Juan Mayor Francis Zamora, DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu, DENR Undersecretary for Environment and International Environmental Affairs, Atty. Jonas R. Leones, MWSS Deputy Administrator of Innovation and Technology Ronald Abrigo together with MWSS-RO Chief Regulator Atty. Patrick Lester Ty at the recently concluded Adopt-an-Estero in Maytunas and Ermitanyo Creeks,Brgy. Addition Hills, San Juan City.

To recall, a landmark Memorandum of Agreement to rehabilitate San Juan River was signed in late September of last year among Manila Water, DENR, and the three LGUs, namely San Juan City, Mandaluyong, and Quezon City.

As part of the concessionaire’s contribution to support the rehabilitation of Manila Bay, Manila Water adopted to clean up San Juan River and its tributaries-creeks, which are said to be one of the most polluted rivers within the East Zone.

As part of the effort, Manila Water has activated a flow improvement strategy at Ermitanyo Creek to ensure that water along the creek will flow all year round, even during the dry season.

“We have activated a series of technical and non-technical interventions that will rehabilitate the tributary creeks of San Juan River,” said Manila Water President and CEO Jose Rene Almendras.

“We believe that a combination of social and engineering approaches will augur well for the restoration of the waterway. We have always believed that community participation is key in sustaining clean rivers and waterways,” he added.  

Almendras further explained that based on studies, the sad state of the San Juan River can be traced to four creeks that drain into the river namely: Maytunas, Ermitanyo, Buhangin, and Buayang Bato Creeks, which are considered as the dirtiest among the tributaries discharging into the river.

“It is important that we tailor-fit technical strategies for each tributary because of the differing conditions. However, a common strategy would be to ensure that stakeholders take part in ensuring that the various interventions and clean-up activities are sustained,” Almendras said.

Other interventions that are part of the commitments in the Adopt-an-Estero Project include bacteria-based river water treatment through biological augmentation in the creek allowing the regular flow of movement of water in the creek, regular desludging activities, provision of cleaning tools for the series of clean-up drives, and program, periodic water quality monitoring, among others.