MWSS chief regulator: Growing population is reason for water shortage

March 12, 2019 - 6:55 PM
water shortage hospital Rizal Medica Center
Employees from Rizal Medical Center collect water from the rations of the Philippine Red Cross. (The STAR/Michael Varcas)

The chief regulator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) cited on Facebook the growing population in the metropolis as the reason for Manila Water’s supply shortage.

Atty. Patrick Lester Ty said that Manila Water has previously warned of a possible water shortage if the government does not find a new water source in the future.

To those affected by the water shortage recently – Manila Water is being given 1600mld allocation from Angat Dam…

Posted by Patrick Ty on Monday, March 11, 2019


“Manila Water has been warning that there will be a looming water shortage if we don’t have a new water source soon, they announced it again just last year,” Ty said.

He recalled that back in 1997, Manila Water had an allocation of 1,600 million liters per day (mld) from Angat Dam, the major source of water in Metro Manila.

However, the rapid population growth resulted in an increase in demand for water over the years.

“Due to the increasing population, Manila Water’s requirement is now at around 1750 mld. Their allocation of 1600mld is not enough. So they used their reserve water, which is the La Mesa dam,” he explained.

Earlier, MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco questioned the water concessionaire statement that El Niño was the reason for its supply issues.

Velasco even perceived possible leakage in Manila Water’s piping system.

However, Ty revealed the problem is more complicated than that.

Manila Water’s requests for a new water source were opposed to give way to the construction of a new dam, the Kaliwa (Laiban Dam) Dam in the province of Quezon.

The Laiban and Kaliwa Dams are part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program to meet the increasing demand of domestic water supply in Metro Manila.

Approximately P12.2 billion was allotted for the construction of the project called “New Centennial Water Source Project” to be completed in 2023.

Velasco was the one who announced that it will meet the water supply needs of residents in Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan and Quezon.

“The objective of the government is to ensure water security and as a redundant water source, thereby reducing the total dependency on the Angat Dam reservoir” that also supplies water to the metropolis and nearby areas,” he said.

Non-revenue water

Ty also said Manila Water was able to reduce its non-revenue water or NRW from 60 to 12 percent, which is higher than the average in Southeast Asia.

According to the Asian Development Bank, the average NRW in Southeast Asia is 4.9 percent.

Non-revenue water is defined as “the difference between the amount of water put into the distribution system and the amount of water billed to consumers.”

“The population keeps increasing and they cant reduce it below 12% anymore (international standard is 20%),” Ty said.