Anticipation: How Maynilad spared customers from water crisis

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 23 2019 01:50 PM

MANILA - While taps ran dry in other parts of Metro Manila amid a supply shortage, why were areas covered by water concessionaire Maynilad spared? 

Planning ahead was key, an executive of the water distribution firm said Saturday, just as its counterpart Manila Water recovered from a supply crisis over the past weeks that left customers scrambling for water rations and even fetching from pools. 

Maynilad covers Metro Manila's west zone, while Manila Water covers the east. 

Maynilad water supply operations head Ronald Padua said they had anticipated a change in the water supply, citing their experience during the El Niño in 2010. 

Customers of Maynilad then had problems in water supply because of the El Niño, a weather phenomenon marked by less than normal rainfall levels, which prompted the concessionaire to plan the construction of future plants which could store emergency water supply. 

Padua bared that they have proposed a water treatment plant that would get water from the Laguna Lake, while China-funded Kaliwa Dam is under construction. 

"Nagpa-approve kami ng isang plant na kukuha din sa Laguna Lake so habang di pa dumarating 'yung Kaliwa dam at least ready po kami suplayan, para po ready kaming suplayan sa susunod na taon," he told radio DZMM. 

(We got approval for a plant that would draw water from the Laguna Lake so that while Kaliwa Dam was still under construction, at least we are ready to provide supply for the coming years.)

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) previously said Manila Water failed to build a treatment facility on time.

Jun Escoto, Manager of the MWSS Field Operations Department, said Maynilad's proposal was part of their short-term plans as the Kaliwa Dam construction continued. 

The Kaliwa Dam in Infanta, Quezon, which the government said was key to storing more water supply, is expected to finish construction in 2023 amid critical response to its funding. 

Amid preparation, Maynilad urged its customers to save water and to immediately report any problems that may arise, such as tube leakages. 

Earlier, Maynilad chairman Manny Pangilinan said the firm was "protected" from the water shortage as it sources its supply from the Angat Dam and the Putatan Water Treatment Plant. 

Manila Water also draws supply from the Angat Dam, with the La Mesa Dam as its emergency source. 

It had earlier pointed to the declining supply at the La Mesa Dam due to lack of rains, increased demand, and delays in infrastructure projects as factors that contributed to its supply woes.