Listed diversified firm San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is targeting to operate the Stage 3 of the P24.4-billion Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project (BBWSP) by January 2023, following the government approval on the firm’s updated business plan (UBP) for the project.
“We are targeting the start of operations by January 2023,” SMC President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon Ang said in a statement.
Ang said that the Luzon Clean Water Development Corporation (LCWDC), a consortium of San Miguel Corp. and K-Water Resources Corp., is now ready to start the preliminary engineering design for the stage 3 of the BBWSP.
LCWDC is the third concessionaire of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) tasked to provide water services in the whole Province of Bulacan through the BBWSP. Stage 1 of the project started operations in January 2019, while stage 2 was commissioned in April 2019.
The stage 3 of BBWSP covers the water districts of Baliwag, Hagonoy, Norzagaray, Pandi, San Ildefonso, San Miguel, and San Rafael, all of which had to sign water supply deal with LCWDC. The project will bring the company’s total coverage to 20 areas by 2023.
The MWSS Board said it made sure that the LCWDC’s UBP should translate to low tariff on the part of the water districts and it should result in low end-user fees for the Bulacan residents.
It was in July when LCWDC submitted its proposed UBP and Financial Model, which covers the technical, financial and operation aspects of BBWSP Stage 3.
A UBP Review Committee (URC) was immediately created by MWSS Chairman and OIC Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco to ensure that LCWDC’s future directions and priorities are in consonance with the BBWSP concession agreement.
“We have to ensure that the Updated Business Plan with its strategies benefits the consumers, the people of Bulacan,” Velasco said.
A thorough review was conducted by the URC on the investments for new assets to be developed, cash requirements to meet operational investments, and cost-cutting strategies for the entire project life cycle.
According to Velasco, the MWSS Board was concerned with the improvement of quality of life and the assurance of continued water supply even during calamities.
“We also looked at the issue of environmental protection, given that the groundwater resources in the service area have already been depleted,” he added.
Since the 1920s, Bulacan has been the backbone of the MWSS water supply as the province hosts the Ipo and Angat Dams. Unfortunately, the province was not benefitting from these dams, which provide bulk of Metro Manila’s water needs.
Thus in 1992 and later in July 2012, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between MWSS and the Province of Bulacan for the supply of treated bulk water to the entire Province of Bulacan through its water districts.
The BBWSP produces an average volume of 160 million liters per day (MLD) for around 165,000 households, and has a maximum capacity of 388 MLD.
BBWSP, which broke ground during the Aquino administration, is considered the first major water infrastructure project to be completed under the Duterte administration.