Manila Water CEO shares practices on adapting to climate impact
Manila Water President & Chief Executive Officer Jocot de Dios shared the water company’s initiatives to ensure the continuous delivery of water supply and wastewater services for its service areas within the eastern part of Metro Manila and beyond during the recently concluded Singapore International Water Week’s plenary session entitled, ‘Adapting to Climate Impact: Resilience against extreme weather events and sea level rise‘.
In the session, the chief executive shared that Manila Water dedicates high priority in actively developing solutions that will help mitigate the effects of the changing climate in the delivery of reliable water supply to its customers. De Dios highlighted that in the East Zone of Metro Manila alone where it serves more than 7.3 million customers, the company has, for the past two decades, focused on protecting its main water resource, the Angat River, by lowering non-revenue water levels, protecting the 56,000-hectare watershed areas and investing on proper wastewater management for its customers. However, de Dios was quick to admit that even with notable accomplishments in these programs, the company saw the need to do more in terms of ensuring that improved technologies adapt to the changing environment while providing alternative and additional water sources to address the future requirements of its growing customer base.
“In the past 10 years, we had five years with very poor water conditions. We have regular droughts every summer. Weather patterns and the amount of rainfall are changing, and we need potential solutions for these changes that we are experiencing,” said de Dios.
In recent years, Manila Water successfully gained the approval of government and different stakeholders for the development of new water sources. Currently Manila Water is delivering 1,650 million liters of water per day (MLD) through the Angat River, north of the concession, and Laguna Lake water sources. According to de Dios, several projects that will generate additional water supply are in the pipeline which include the Wawa-Calawis Water Supply Project, Phase 1 of which will provide an added 80 MLD within the year while Phase 2 will bring in more than 400 MLD thereafter, as well as the 250-MLD East Bay Water Supply Project which will harness the eastern portion of Laguna Lake, the third largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.
De Dios also underscored Manila Water’s commitment to climate adaptation with the creation of an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Committee at the board level that wil be responsible for identifying risks, analyzing and executing solutions and growth opportunities.
He added that the company and its employees continue to further deepen their commitment to sustainability and are motivated to implement projects that will answer this need as early and at the most cost-efficient amount as possible, carefully considering how we design our infrastructure and how we take care and protect our water resources and our environment.
Singapore International Water Week is a platform that gathers thought leaders, experts and practitioners from governments and different utilities worldwide to come up with innovative solutions to address global water challenges.