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Algal bloom spells woes for Maynilad customers

/ 07:01 AM May 03, 2019

DRAWN FROM THE WELL Residents of T.S. Subdivision in Almanza Dos, Las Piñas City, queue for water from a deep well for a fee of P2 per container as taps run dry because Maynilad Water Services Inc. has implemented rotating service interruptions. —GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

Maynilad Water Services Inc. is drawing more water treated at its Putatan filtration plants in Muntinlupa City despite the algal bloom in Laguna de Bay, its source of raw water for customers in the cities of Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Parañaque, and parts of Cavite province.

These areas, however, will continue to experience eight hours of low water pressure or no water at all over the next two weeks.

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Last week, Maynilad announced that water supply would be disrupted in several areas in Parañaque, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Cavite starting April 30 because of the proliferation of algae in Laguna Lake due to warmer temperatures brought about by El Niño.

Maynilad is the private concessionaire in the west zone in parts of Metro Manila and Cavite, while Manila Water Co. Inc. is the concessionaire in the east zone, which covers other parts of the metropolis and certain areas in Rizal province.

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For other areas in its concession area, Maynilad gets its supply from Angat Dam in Bulacan province, whose water level dropped below critical level early this week due to rising temperatures and lack of rain.

In a statement, Maynilad said Putatan Water Treatment Plant No. 1 and No. 2 were now producing a combined 125 million liters daily (MLD) from a low of 80 MLD.

“While this is still below our normal production—as the facilities’ full combined capacity is at 250 MLD—it is an improvement that will help us to better stabilize supply in the network, and marginally increase the supply availability window for some of the affected areas,” the company said.

It said it was intensifying “treatment interventions to address the issues brought about by the algal bloom and bring our production back to normal levels.”

“Our technical teams are working double time to bring our water production back to normal levels sooner rather than later,” Maynilad said.

Customers in parts of Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa and Cavite will continue to experience low pressure to no water supply daily from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Mobile tankers

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Maynilad said it was deploying 40 mobile tankers to bring water to severely affected areas.

The heavy algal presence was first observed on April 23, prompting company efforts to clean up and unclog its two filtration plants in Putatan. As a result, eight-hour supply interruptions were experienced on April 27-28.

“This situation is expected to continue until May 14 . . . when the full implementation of the remedial treatment interventions are expected to have already addressed the issues brought about by the algal bloom,” Maynilad said.

Despite the supply interruptions, there appears to be no calls to penalize Maynilad for its failure to provide continuous water supply to customers in the west zone.

Penalties

On April 24, Manila Water was slapped with P1.13 billion in penalties for the water shortage in large areas of Metro Manila and parts of Rizal in March.

The penalties consisted of a fine of P534 million and P600 million to be spent on developing a new water source that Manila Water will not be allowed to recover from customers through rate increases, according to the regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

The fine is for not meeting service requirements—that supply be available to customers 24 hours every day at a pressure of 7 psi (pounds per square inch).

The penalties are on top of the estimated P500 million that Manila Water said it would return to customers in the form of a rebate. —RONNEL W. DOMINGO

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TAGS: algae, algal, customers, Laguna de Bay, Maynilad Water Services Inc., Muntinlupa City, Putatan filtration plants, water
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