Manila Water’s 5-year service improvement plan to ensure continued 24/7 supply

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Manila Water continues to push for the development of new water sources, with the continuing increase of population and demand, and effects of climate change to Angat Dam (photo), Metro Manila’s main water source. The Company banks on its 5-year Service Improvement Plan to ensure water security, which includes building vital infrastructure in alternate water sources such as Laguna Lake, among other efforts.

Since it began operating the water and wastewater system of eastern Metro Manila and Rizal Province, East Zone concessionaire Manila Water has endeavored to provide 24/7 water supply to its current 7.4 million residents. Even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, Manila Water has been reliably supplying uninterrupted supply not only to residences but also to important public services institutions like hospitals and health care centers, despite majority of its raw water source coming from the almost 50-year-old Angat Dam.

With an annual water demand increasing at 3% and the need for an additional supply of 15% during peak summer months, it is important that new water sources be developed to ensure the continuity of 24/7 service and not be totally reliant on Angat Dam.

Water security is at the forefront of Manila Water’ service improvement plan for the coming five years beginning 2023 to 2027. Included as other pillars in the plan are service continuity, service accessibility and environmental sustainability. “These major pillars represent the projects that Manila Water will undertake to ensure continued water and wastewater services for the increasing population of the East Zone and Rizal Province which continues to grow at an annual rate of 2-3%. Manila Water is earmarking P181 billion for the five-year plan, of which P105 billion are allotted for its massive capital expenditure program,” shared Manila Water President and CEO Jocot De Dios.

With climate change heavily impacting water source and supply, Manila Water has begun tapping Laguna Lake as an alternative source of water for its customers. It has completed the Cardona Water Treatment Plant, drawing water from the central portion of the lake, with a capacity of 100 million liters per day. The Laguna Lake Water System includes tapping the eastern portion of the lake called the East Bay Water Supply Project Phases 1 and 2 with a total capacity of 250 MLD. Construction of the Antipolo Water System is also underway with the Wawa Calawis Water Supply Project, Phase 1 of which will provide an initial 80 MLD and an additional 438 MLD expected to be completed in 2025. Manila Water continues to coordinate closely with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage for the Sumag River Diversion Project and the Umiray-Angat Transbasin Rehabilitation Project which are designed to provide additional water to the Angat water system.

While customers of Manila Water continue to receive 24/7 water supply, it is imperative that services should continue even if there are natural calamities and disasters. Retrofitting and ensuring the structural integrity of facilities are vital components of projects to address the impact of the ‘Big One’. Regular rehabilitation of mainlines, installation of redundant water lines as well as the construction of emergency reservoirs across the concession will ensure that impacts of a big earthquake to water supply will be mitigated.

Programs designed to promote environmental sustainability include the construction of wastewater treatment facilities compliant with the new standards on biological nutrient removal as well as the laying of sewer networks to ensure that wastewater undergoes proper treatment before it is discharge back into receiving water bodies.

“Implementation of Manila Water’s service improvement plan will ensure that water supply for East Zone customers will continue to remain 24/7 and at the same time, adequate wastewater and sanitation services will be available for those residing in San Juan, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Taguig, Pateros, Marikina, portions of Quezon City and Manila as well as Rizal Province in the coming years,” De Dios added.

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