By Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

MANILA Water Co., Inc. said it is not currently implementing any water service interruption schemes, after a Senator said the dry season should not be used as a pretext to discontinue services.

“Water supply for the East Zone remains normal and we are not implementing any off-peak or rotational water interruptions,” Manila Water Corporate Strategic Affairs Group Head Nestor Jeric T. Sevilla, Jr. said in a Viber message to BusinessWorld.

He said Manila Water can tap additional sources to cater to increased demand during the dry months. These include the Cardona Water Treatment Plant, which can produce up to 100 million liters of water per day (MLD), deep wells with output of about 115 MLD, and the Marikina Portable Water Treatment Plant which can add 20 MLD. 

“We continue to maximize our distribution reservoirs, reduce our water losses to 13%, as well as install line boosters to ensure water reaches the elevated and farthest points of our service area,” Mr. Sevilla said.

Senator Mary Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares, who chairs the chamber’s Committee on Public Services, said the water concessionaires in the capital region should not use the dry season as a pretext for imposing water service interruptions.

Maynilad Water Services, Inc. Corporate Communications Head Jennifer C. Rufo had said the water interruptions that were supposed to end in April may extend to May due to the increased demand.

“We expect our water concessionaires to deliver on their commitments under their renewed franchise and revised concession agreement, and complete the projects necessary to have safe and reliable water on the taps,” Ms. Poe said. 

“It would be a disservice to fail our people in their most basic need at this time of struggle to recover from the pandemic,” she added. “Complacency certainly has no place in these back-to-back threats.”

Ms. Rufo told BusinessWorld in a Viber message that water interruptions at night give the company the opportunity to fill up its reservoirs in preparation for daytime peak demand.

“Hence, we can sustain water service during hours of the day when it is needed most, minimizing inconvenience to customers,” she said, noting that the service interruptions will likely run from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. when most customers are asleep and not using water.

The need to manage supply in the network comes from the increasing demand for water due to hotter days, Ms. Rufo said.

“If it appears, based on our projections, that the demand is still likely to deplete our reservoirs without this intervention, then we extend the implementation of these daily off-peak interruptions for another 15 days,” she added, advising customers to consistently store clean water during the dry season.

Ms. Rufo confirmed that Maynilad also has several supply augmentation measures, including the activation of deep wells and operation of modular treatment plants, which allow them to keep the service interruptions within off-peak hours.

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.