Manila Water to abide with MWSS decision on financial penalty
Manila Water will abide by the decision of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to pay a financial penalty upon the recommendation of the MWSS Regulatory Office (RO) declaring that the East Zone concessionaire should be penalized under Section 10.4 of the Concession Agreement for its inability to meet its service obligations to provide 24/7 water supply to its consumers.
“We will abide by the MWSS Decision to impose a penalty. While we are not the root cause for the inadequacy of the raw water supply coming from Angat Dam which we are mandated to treat and distribute, Manila Water, as agent and contractor of water services of MWSS, hold ourselves accountable for our inability to provide our consumers with the usual uninterrupted water service,“ says Manila Water President and CEO Ferdinand Dela Cruz.
“Our inability to provide our usual 24/7 water supply to some of our consumers is because Manila Water's allocated water supply from Angat Dam is no longer sufficient for the total demand of the East Zone consumers. This raw water allocation has remained unchanged at 1,600 MLD since the Concession started in 1997 when the East Zone had a population of only 3 million people. Today, Manila Water serves a population of almost 7 million people whose per capita consumption has significantly increased through over two decades of economic progress in Metro Manila. We cannot source any more from our system losses which have already been brought down to 12% from a high of 63% when we inherited the East Zone concession of Metro Manila in 1997.”
“Manila Water has strongly advocated for many years for the development of new water sources beyond Angat Dam, both to ensure sufficiency of water supply as well as resiliency in case of any calamity around the Angat Dam system. However, the development of new water sources is, under the Concession Agreement, ultimately the responsibility of MWSS,” Dela Cruz added.
MWSS imposed a penalty of P534.05 million on Manila Water after going through a process defined in Section 10.4 of the Concession Agreement. It also separately asked Manila Water to set aside funds in the amount of P600 million for the development of a medium- to long-term water source for the East Zone.
It will be recalled that Manila Water recently announced its voluntary and one-time bill waiver program for its consumers which began implementation in April 1. Under the program, all consumers of the East Zone will receive a waiver equivalent to the first 10 cubic meter of their March consumption which will be reflected in their April bills. Severely affected consumers or those consumers who experienced absolutely no water service for at least seven days between March 6-31 will not be charged at all for their March consumption.
Dela Cruz also shared the progress of the company’s service recovery efforts which are now geared towards addressing those residing in the elevated and farthest areas of the concession who are still inconvenienced due to the water supply shortage.
“As of April 23, we have made water available for at least 8 hours, at least at the ground floor level, to 99% of our customer base. We have narrowed the gap of our supply deficit which has been reduced to 57 million liters per day from a high of 150 million liters per day through various supply augmentation efforts.”
“We reaffirm our commitment to work closely with MWSS to address the remaining water supply deficit. We continue to seek understanding from our consumers as we finetune our operations to spread the still limited water supply across our customer base,” Dela Cruz said.