Boracay Water to accelerate development of sewage treatment projects

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BORACAY Island Water Co., Inc. (Boracay Water) said it will be fast-tracking its sewer projects as requested by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which will mean accelerated spending this year.

Boracay Water General Manager and Chief Operating Officer Joseph Michael A. Santos said Friday that while the company has no plans to alter its overall capital budget, implementing projects two years earlier than planned would mean increased spending this year.

The company, a joint venture between Manila Water Company, Inc. and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), has budgeted P2.4 billion for capital expenditure between 2018 and 2022.

“This year, we were supposed to spend P677 million but it may balloon to P700 million because of acceleration of the project,” Mr. Santos said.

“We are trying to manage with the P2.4 billion because that was the amount discussed during the rate rebasing period… as per projection, we can still meet the P2.4 billion [budget] even [as we] advance the projects.”

Based on its approved business plan, Boracay Water will deload the Balabag sewage treatment plant (STP) which has a capacity of 6.5 million liters per day (MLD) by transferring some 3 MLD in the next two months to the Manoc-Manoc STP.

The Manoc-Manoc STP, which only has 5 MLD capacity at present, will be upgraded to 8.5 MLD by year’s end.

The company will also begin the construction of another STP in Barangay Yapak by next year to increase the total capacity on the island to 21 MLD.

Mr. Santos said that the new facility is budgeted at P450 million, while a 20-kilometer sewer network which will add to the existing 22 km will cost about P700 million.

Mr. Santos expects lower increases at the next rate rebasing in 2022.

“Come next rebasing, based on my best estimate, we may not be spending that much for the reason that for this current rate rebasing we’ve already laid out the projects that we foresee especially addressing the water issues,” he added.

“By that time, by 2022, we’ll already have three STPs which will have the capability of more or less 21 MLD. By that time, it (rate adjustments) will only be very minimal so hopefully, we’re just talking about centavos’ worth of increases.”

So far, Boracay Water said that it has blocked 36 pipes illegally connected to the drainage system and has built a temporary interception and diversion system to redirect the drainage water to its Balabag STP as part of its efforts to assist the government in cleaning up the island.

The company said it will also accommodate non-customers in connecting to its network. It was discovered that 95% of its residential accounts and 49% of its commercial accounts are not connected to its STPs. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato