By Ashley Erika O. Jose, Reporter

MAYNILAD Water Services, Inc. is targeting to suspend its water service interruptions within this week after the government approved a higher water allocation for the concessionaire from Angat Dam.

Ramoncito S. Fernandez, president and chief executive officer of Maynilad, said during a virtual press briefing on Monday that except for some areas in Cavite, the west zone water provider will halt the recurring water interruptions.

“This higher allocation will definitely improve the volume of water reaching the portal, allowing Maynilad to increase its production and improve the levels of Ipo and La Mesa [reservoir],” Mr. Fernandez said.

Last week, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) announced the approval of a 52 cubic meters per second (CMS) allocation to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for the April 16-30 period. Maynilad is a concessionaire of the MWSS.

The move follows the NWRB’s decision to temporarily raise the allocation for MWSS to 50 CMS between April 1 and 15. The MWSS normally draws 48 CMS from Angat.

Over the weekend, Maynilad announced that some areas in Cavite would experience water service interruptions due to the intensified cleaning of filters at the Putatan water treatment plants.

Mr. Fernandez said that the initial assumption for the combined production of the Putatan 1 and 2 plants was about 240 million liters per day (MLD), which could potentially affect about 170,000 customers. But as turbidity levels in Laguna Lake settled below 100 NTU or nephelometric turbidity units, the affected customers have been down to 79,000.

“This enabled Putatan 1 and 2 to produce a combined volume of 260 to 280 [MLD]. At 280 MLD, affected customers are now down 79,000 — that is the good news. We are working hard to maintain the 270-280 MLD production,” he said.

Mr. Fernandez said Maynilad has a water system in the north and south of its service area. The north is dependent on the Bagbag reservoir, which along with the Ipo reservoir, benefitted from the 52 CMS allocation. The south is dependent on the Putatan treatment plants, he said, adding that the pipeline connecting the north and south “has limited capacity.”

“We’re trying to improve the cleaning capacity [and] capability of [Putatan] 1 and 2 [treatment plants],” he said.

Patrick Lester N. Ty, the chief regulator at the MWSS-Regulatory Office (RO), said the agency is studying the possibility of imposing financial penalties on Maynilad if the water interruptions continue.

“The MWSS RO is monitoring the situation. If there will still be water service interruptions in the Angat Dam influence areas despite Maynilad receiving their proper raw water allocation, we will not hesitate to impose financial penalties,” Mr. Ty said.

MWSS Administrator Leonor C. Cleofas said that the agreement with the NWRB on the increased allocation is the suspension of the ongoing water interruptions experienced by Maynilad customers.

“The condition of NWRB is clear, that we will suspend, that Maynilad has to suspend the water interruptions because of our additional CMS that will be devoted to Maynilad,” she said.

Meanwhile, Jose Victor Emmanuel A. De Dios, president and chief executive officer of Manila Water Co. Inc., said the east zone concessionaire is also ramping up leak repairs to increase water supply.

Manila Water serves Manila’s east zone network, which comprises Marikina, Pasig, Makati, Taguig, Pateros, Mandaluyong, San Juan, portions of Quezon City and Manila, and several towns of nearby Rizal province.

Maynilad serves the cities of Manila, except portions of San Andres and Sta. Ana. It also operates in Quezon City, Makati, Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas, and Malabon. It also supplies the cities of Cavite, Bacoor, and Imus, and the towns of Kawit, Noveleta, and Rosario, all in Cavite province.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which has a majority stake in Maynilad, is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.