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Manila Water flags risk of water shortage between 2021 and 2023

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Manila Water Co., Inc. has raised the alarm over a possible water shortage starting in 2021 if it fails to get approval for the construction of a new water source from Laguna Lake ahead of the target completion of the Kaliwa dam in Quezon province by 2023.

Geodino V. Carpio, Manila Water chief executive officer, said 2023 is “too late” for the company as supply from Angat barely meets the demand for water within its east zone concession area.

“Today, we’re using all from Angat,” he told reporters in a briefing on Wednesday, Aug. 29, in Quezon City. He was referring to the dam that supplies about 96% of Metro Manila’s water requirement.

The dam delivers about 4,000 million liters per day (MLD), of which 40% or 1,600 is allocated to Manila Water. The rest at 2,400 MLD is supplied to the west zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services, Inc.

State agency Metro Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) regulates what is allocated to the concessionaires.

“Demand has increased beyond Angat’s capacity to provide,” Mr. Carpio said.




Mr. Carpio said Manila Water’s demand requirement has already exceeded the 1,600 MLD allocation, and has reached 1,650 MLD as of the first quarter. The deficiency at 500 MLD is sourced from La Mesa dam, which is not meant to impound water for distribution.

“We are worried because the rate rebasing is about to be finished,” he said, referring to the new base rate being applied for by the company for the 2018-2022 regulatory period, wherein new water source projects have been proposed. The company expects an “indicative” rate in the coming days.

Mr. Carpio said the company expects to complete this year a 100-MLD water source in Rizal province that should cover the current deficiency and the increase in demand for the next two years until 2020.

“If we stretch it, we may have sufficient water by 2021,” he said.

But between 2021 and 2023, Manila Water will be short, assuming that Kaliwa dam will indeed be finished by 2023, he said. But the Philippines has yet to close a financing deal with China through an official development assistance (ODA).

“For two years, we will be short,” Mr. Carpio said.

He said Manila Water remains hopeful that MWSS would give its approval for the company’s Laguna Lake water supply system project, which is located in the east bay of the lake and provide 250 MLD to complement the ongoing Rizal province water supply improvement project.

The Laguna Lake project can serve 1.446 million consumers while the Rizal project can serve around 788,000. The annual demand growth within Manila Water’s concession is placed at 40 to 50 MLD. — Victor V. Saulon

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