Manila Water’s non-revenue water now on par with developed countries
Manila Water is on par with water utilities in developed countries when it comes to the level of water losses or non-revenue water (NRW).
In 2022, Manila Water averaged 12.69% NRW, one of Asia’s lowest. Non-revenue water is defined as water that is not billed and is lost through leaks or illegal connections. This means that for every cubic meter of water produced, only around 0.12 cubic meters are lost. This is a stark difference from the 63% NRW inherited by the company in 1997.
The standard set by the World Bank is 25% or lower. Furthermore, in a study conducted by the World Bank, the NRW is pegged at 15% for developed countries such as Japan, Germany, England and Wales, and Singapore.
Since 1997, Manila Water has put a premium on reducing its water losses, especially since it takes time to develop long-term water sources, including constructing infrastructure such as dams and large watermains.
Manila Water’s approach to reducing non-revenue water includes a multi-pronged approach that combines proactive technical solutions, engineering, and social interventions.
Among the technical and engineering solutions adopted by the company are the reconfiguration of the network, accurate measurement of supply volumes, active leakage control and repairs, supply and pressure management, and meter management programs, all using modern and innovative systems and equipment.
Manila Water has also strengthened its stakeholder relations with the communities to report leaks and illegal connections actively.
The water company remains vigorous in rehabilitating aging primary lines and maintaining the integrity of its mainlines. Regular maintenance and rehabilitation reduce the incidence of breakages in the water system. When breakages occur, the company ensures work efficiency to fix the leak as quickly as possible. In 2022, Manila Water repaired a total of 529 pipe bursts, all within 24 hours.
Manila Water has remained persistent in cracking down on illegal connections, not merely to minimize NRW further but also to protect the public’s health. Illegal connections are prone to breakages and contamination since they are made with substandard materials.
With its social flagship program, “Tubig para sa Barangay” (TPSB), Manila Water has partnered with marginalized communities to provide affordable and safe water connections. In 2022 alone, the program completed 29 projects with 826 new water connections, now providing clean and potable water to 1,222 low-income households. The TPSB program is now benefiting nearly 2 million residents from low-income communities after completing more than 750 TPSB projects.
Manila Water is also advocating the responsible and wise use of water to its customers year in and year out. The company utilizes information drives on social media and partners with government agencies, notably the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and the National Water Resources Board, as well as private organizations, for various campaigns supporting this venture.
Because of the low NRW level, Manila Water was able to facilitate installing 33,309 new water service connections in the East Zone of Metro Manila and Rizal in 2022, compared to 21,680 the year prior. The more efficient water network enables more customers to have greater access to water supply through new and regular water service connections.
“Water is not unlimited. It is a finite resource; hence, we see to it that our NRW remains at manageable levels and at par with global standards, if not better. We care for every drop, knowing that every drop we save goes to our customers,” Manila Water Group Director for Corporate Communications Affairs Jeric Sevilla said.