MWSS: Government needs new water sourcesPhilippine Daily Inquirer
Noting that Metro Manila’s water supply is likely to be short by 100 million liters per day by 2022, the Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said government will need to develop new sources of water supply.
MWSS chairman Ramon Alikpala on Wednesday said the agency is “looking at various sources, including the Laiban, Agos, Tayabasan, Kaliwa, Kanan and Laguna de Bay,” among others. The Laiban, Agos, Tayabasan, Kaliwa and Kanan lakes are all in Quezon province.
The MWSS will “not allow the supply situation to deteriorate and the public to once again buy from water trucks at atrocious rates,” he said in a statement.
“The price of inaction is incalculable,” he said, warning that unless new sources are developed, the water supply deficit is expected to double in 2023 and continue to rise.
Alikpala noted that Metro Manila depends on 97 percent of its supply from the Angat Dam in Bulacan, which he said was “not healthy, to say the least, from the point of view of national security, public convenience, economic growth and strategic planning.”
He clarified reports that the Laiban dam project in Tanay had been cancelled, saying that the decision cancelling the project had been recalled in a resolution that the MWSS board passed in April 2011.
Alikpala pointed out that MWSS projects were the responsibility of the MWSS, not the water concessionaires.
“We may not have to borrow to finance them. We can use the concession fees that Manila Water and Maynilad pay us to pay off these loans,” he added.
Early proponents of the Laiban dam—San Miguel Bulk Water Co. Inc (SMBWCI), a unit of the giant San Miguel Corp. (SMC), Maynilad, which is controlled by businessman Manuel Pangilinan’s Metro Pacific Investment Corp. and the DM Consunji engineering firm—appear to have sheared off the $1-billion project.
MWSS administrator Gerardo Esquievel earlier said the agency was open to other experts evaluating the condition of the Angat Dam to support the feasibility study made by a US-based firm for its P5-billion rehabilitation.
But tapping independent experts should not stall or hamper the rehabilitation process, Esquivel said.
“We need all the help we can get, but we don’t want to be the ‘analysis that leads to the paralysis’ of the dam modernization project,” which is awaiting Malacañang’s approval, he added.
Angat’s rehabilitation will allow the facility to accommodate an additional 400 to 600 million milliliters per day. Jerry E. Esplanada