Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco underscored the importance of teamwork among various stakeholders and strategic planning to address various water-related challenges.
In a speech during the 25th Philippine Water Works Association Inc., International Conference and Exhibition in Tacloban City over the weekend, Velasco assured the public of a continuing and fruitful partnership with private water concessionaires Maynilad, Manila Water and Bulacan Bulk Water to ensure water security and sustainability and improve water services and sewerage coverage in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Velasco, who discussed “Water Security and Sustainability,” shared the stage at the Philwater plenary session with its two concessionaires—Manila Water President and Chief Executive Officer Ferdinand M. de la Cruz, who talked about “Wastewater Management,” and Maynilad President Ramoncito S. Fernandez, who discussed about “Enhancing Resiliency of Water Operations in the Face of Climate Change.”
During the event, Velasco bared the various infrastructure projects being undertaken by MWSS and its three concessionaires to ensure water security and sustainability under President Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program, as well as future plans and programs.
Under the Duterte administration, Velasco assured that there is no looming water crisis in the near future in Metro Manila.
This even as Velasco acknowledged that the country now falls below the international “water stress” threshold of 1,700 cubic meters per year and fast approaching the “water scarcity” threshold of 1,000 m3 per year.
Using the 2018 population of 107 million against the fresh water supply of 146 billion cubic meters, per capita availability stands at 1,553 m3 per year.
The water-availability-per-capita situation in the country represents the country’s water-security issue.
Among the projects Velasco discussed were the Angat security projects, Bulacan Bulk Water Supply project and the newly approved Kaliwa Dam project.
Velasco also unveiled his new pet projects—the proposed Angat, Bayabas and Candaba water-source projects, or A-B-C projects, which have a potential of producing a combined 1,950-million-liter-per-day capacity to complement the existing capacity of Angat Dam.
These projects could address the increasing demand for water in the next 10, 20 and even 50 years, “something this humble representation together with the MWSS Board of Trustees and our three concessionaires can all be proud of as part of our legacy to water security and sustainability,” Velasco stated.
During the event, Velasco also acknowledged the overall water-security projects of Manila Water with its new Laguna Lake East Bay Projects and Maynilad’s Putatan, which both source their water from Laguna Bay using reverse osmosis technology to augment the 96-percent water source from Angat dam with the two concessionaires pouring in the necessary investments over the next five years.
Boosting the water-security program of the current administration is sewerage and wastewater management, which, according to the MWSS administrator, “is where the next challenge will be, pointing out that there is only 14 percent overall sewerage coverage.”