Manila Water’s low NRW is a major factor in sustaining 24/7 supply to east zone customers
MANILA, Philippines — Manila Water manages to keep its non-revenue water (NRW) average at 13.35% for the first half of this year, sustaining 24/7 water supply to its 7.6 million customers in the east zone of Metro Manila and parts of Rizal.
The water company has maintained its NRW average below 14% by implementing vigorous maintenance checks, replacement, rehabilitation, and repairs in its more than 5300-km distribution network. Keeping the NRW level at this rate and its various water augmentation projects help Manila Water secure continuous and uninterrupted water service despite the reduced water allocation from Angat Dam, which is now at 48 cubic meters per second.
NRW is defined as water not billed and lost through leaks and illegal connections. To put it plainly, for every liter of water that Manila Water produces, only less than 140 ml (less than half a cup) is lost. The World Bank standard is set at 25% or lower. Manila Water’s less than 14% NRW average, which is one of the lowest in Asia, puts them on par with first-world countries such as Japan, Germany, England and Wales, and Singapore.
To eliminate or reduce illegal connections rampant in informal settlements, Manila Water launched its flagship program, Tubig Para Sa Barangay, or Water for the Community program, in 1998. The program has completed almost 900 projects benefitting nearly 2 million people from urban poor communities.
Aside from keeping the NRW level in check, Manila Water also has completed extensive projects to augment its water supply during El Niño.
Since 2019, the water concessionaire has embarked on constructing and operationalizing auxiliary water sources, adding to the Angat Dam allocation.
At present, Manila Water uses the Cardona Water Treatment Plant with 110 million liters per day (MLD), Alat Reservoir rain catchers with 10 MLD, backwash recovery from water treatments plants with 30 MLD, and deep wells that can produce up to 118 MLD. New and additional water supply will come from Wawa-Calawis Water Supply Project Phase 1 with 20 MLD (scalable to 80 MLD), Marikina Portable Treatment Plant with 15 MLD, and Eastbay Water Treatment Plant Phase 1 with 50 MLD.
“Despite the reduced allocation due to the declining water level in Angat Dam and with the onset of El Niño, our current projections still confirm that our water augmentation projects coupled with our low NRW can bridge this deficit and help us supply uninterrupted water supply to our customers,” Corporate Communications Group Director Jeric Sevilla said.
Nonetheless, Sevilla continues to reiterate the company’s call for responsible water use. “Water is not an unlimited resource and must be used very wisely and responsibly. The best time to save is now while we still have it. Remember that the most expensive water is when you have no water at all.”