THE regulatory office of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said it hopes to approve by the end of the year Manila Water Co., Inc.’s East Bay Water Supply Project and AMA Water Corp.’s AMA Bulk Water Supply Project.

In a virtual public consultation Monday, MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Lester N. Ty said the two proposed water supply projects for Metro Manila can meet the timetable if tariff rate adjustments are acceptable to users.

“If the public understands that they need to have adjustments in tariff rates in order to achieve water security, it is possible that the projects can be approved within the year,” Mr. Ty said.

The increase in water rates for the P3-billion AMA Bulk Water Supply Project is estimated to translate to a P1.11 per cubic meter increase, while the P15-billion Manila Water East Bay Water Supply Project will tack on an additional P1.19 per cubic meter to water bills.

According to Mr. Ty, the East Bay Water Supply Project is estimated to add 250 million liters of water per day while the AMA Bulk Water Supply Project will provide 50 million liters daily, both sourced from Laguna de Bay.

He added that the original timeline for the public consultation for both projects early 2020, but had to be put on hold due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We were ready to do a public consultation for the two projects last March. As early as then, projections showed that there would be a water supply crunch by 2021 and 2022,” Mr. Ty said.

Mr. Ty said that despite tightening supply until a new water source is located, it will not be as bad as the supply shortages that happened in 2019.

“The worst-case scenario is that there will be a water supply interruption, but it would not last up to 24 hours,” Mr. Ty said.

“We need to look for alternative water sources and these two projects are some of the… most feasible and cheapest that we can find,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave