LAGUNA AAAWater Corp. announced on Thursday it is committing capital expenditure of P5 billion in five years to secure its position as the country’s third-biggest water service provider.
“We are aspiring to be [that] for the whole country by 2019,” Laguna Water General Manager and COO Melvin John M. Tan told reporters in a news briefing.
A product of a public-private partnership between the Provincial Government of Laguna and Manila Water Philippine Ventures (MWPV), Laguna Water began operating in the cities of Biñan, Santa Rosa and Cabuyao in 2009. MWPV parent Manila Water Co. owns 70 percent of Laguna Water with the provincial government controlling the remaining 30 percent, as well as chairmanship of the Laguna Water board.
According to Tan, his company took the challenge of taking over the operations of AAAWater Corp. in 2004. Since then, he said the company sought to rehabilitate a dilapidated water system, improve poor water quality, increase the service coverage in its concession area, address intermittent water supply and reduce high nonrevenue water.
With an average spending of P2 billion, Laguna Water aims to provide water for the whole province of Laguna, way beyond the borders of the three original concession areas of Biñan, Santa Rosa and Cabuyao, he said.
“For this year, our budget is P1.4 billion and we definitely intend to raise it next year,” Tan said, adding they are already courting government-controlled water districts in collaborative projects should laying pipes on their own proves impractical.
Estimating that the water districts have coverage of 60 percent in the province, Tan said Laguna Water needs to fill up the remaining 40-percent service vacuum. However, he admitted they were out-raced by a different company in clinching an agreement with the local government of Los Baños.
In 2015 the provincial government of Laguna approved their concession agreement with Laguna Water to include the three provinces in this southern Philippine province. According to Tan, the company targets the 3 million population in the six cities and 24 municipalities of the whole province.
He said many water districts still operating are constrained with lack of resources and access to financial capital. Hence their services tend to be very limited, Tan said.
He added that since his company took over AAAWater, Laguna Water laid 564 kilometers of pipes, repaired 7,000 leaks and replaced 34 kilometers of pipe mains.
Laguna Water is MWC’s biggest business outside Manila with 133,097 connections, which is equivalent to more than 700,000 people with water services. The company has 135 deep-well facilities scattered across its concession area.