High costs stop Manila Water, Maynilad from using salt water

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2019 02:22 PM | Updated as of Mar 21 2019 04:41 PM

MANILA - High costs are preventing water utilities from tapping salt water to meet growing demand, concessionaires told a Senate investigation on the water crisis gripping the Philippine capital.

Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III asked water company officials about the example of Saudi Arabia, which relies on desalination plants for its water needs.

“It is the function of the cost of desalination. It requires a lot of power and our power cost is very high. So it is not yet economic,” Manila Water President and CEO Ferdinand dela Cruz said.

Dela Cruz said desalination could cost more than $2 per cubic meter.

Maynilad is using reverse osmosis to treat saltwater, but costs are high, said COO Randy Estrellado. 

Sotto asked Manila Water and Maynilad to study desalination.

"I cannot accept the answer that it is expensive,” he said.