Metro Manila needs new water sources: study

By Ted Torres, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 04 2012 10:02 AM | Updated as of Jul 04 2012 06:02 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Metro Manila should develop new water sources and depend less on Angat Dam for water supply, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said.

In a study entitled “Good Practice in Urban Water Management,” the ADB noted that for a country prone to earthquakes, damage to Angat dam or a long dry spell would undermine Metro Manila’s water supply.

It added that depletion of the underground water aquifer due to excessive groundwater extraction makes deep wells harmful to the environment. “The critical challenge is to develop new sources of water,” ADB said.

The proposed Liban Dam project in Tanay and a water pumping station in Muntinlupa City are intended to improve water supply in Metro Manila.

The ADB study also cited conflicting regulatory setup in water management, particularly the existence of the “two-office MWSS (Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System).”

Two water concessionaires – Manila Water Co. and Maynilad Water Corp. – are under MWSS’s regulatory control.

The study noted that there appeared to be two offices regulating the two water concessionaires.

“The corporate office in charge of recording and documenting the assets as per government accounting and auditing rules should be a smaller entity limited to ministerial functions. The role of the corporate of?ce, however, can be more pronounced as evident in the Laiban Dam case, where it tried to take a direct hand in contracting for new supply of water that the utilities claim is their responsibility. The mixed signals sent to the private sector are not desirable from a governance point of view,” the ADB report explained.

The report also warned of the fast-rising cost of water.

“With the needed capital investment to be made for sewerage and sanitation, customers will be faced with additional charges,” the authors of the Philippine report said.