The Metropolitan Water Works and Sewerage System (MWSS) emphasized a collaborative effort is necessary in crafting a masterplan for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
In a statement on Monday, the agency reiterated its support for Manila Bay’s cleanup which includes commissioning Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. to reengineer and fast-track their plans to provide wastewater treatment facilities to help arrest the deterioration of waters in the bay.
“We welcome all efforts of collaboration to clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay now being spearheaded by President Duterte and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu. However, I strongly recommend that a masterplan, which should have been done long time ago, is needed right now to properly address the sewerage and waste problems in Mega Manila,” MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said.
Manila Water follows a used water master plan as approved by the agency’s corporate and regulatory office to achieve a 100 percent sewerage coverage while Maynilad has its roadmap to attain the same goal until the end of their concession agreement with the government in 2037.
“Both Manila Water and Maynilad are supportive of the government’s program to rehabilitate Manila Bay,” Velasco stressed.
Maynilad contends that treating used water is just one of the many components in rehabilitating the bay.
“The rehabilitation of Manila Bay waters is a shared responsibility and does not depend only on the two water concessionaires,” Velasco said, adding local government units and Filipino people have to do their share.
Maynilad President and Chief Executive Officer Ramoncito Fernandez said the firm’s sewerage coverage in the West Zone concession is now at 20 percent with the completion of its 22nd wastewater facility, the Parañaque Water Reclamation Facility.
By 2020, sewerage coverage will increase to 26 percent once the sewage treatment plants (STPs) being constructed in the cities of Valenzuela, Cavite, and Muntinlupa are completed.
Meanwhile, Manila Water sees sewerage coverage to increase to 22 percent by 2022.
According to Manila Water, it has spent over P33 billion the to fund used water infrastructure and operations since 1997 and will continue to do so in the coming years.
The company is earmarking P36.8 billion until 2022 with a total of P115 billion until the end of the concession in 2037.
“With wastewater infrastructure investment of more than P33 billion for the past twenty years, Manila Water has put up 40 wastewater treatment facilities and a sewer network spanning 360 kilometers to ensure proper treatment of domestic wastewater and help reverse the moribund state of our river systems,” Manila Water President Ferdinand dela Cruz said.
“Maynilad has invested P23.3 billion in wastewater projects since 2007. About P1.6 billion is required to increase sewerage coverage by 1%,” Fernandez added.
The construction of waste water facilities is also being slowed down by lack of land where these facilities can be situated, added to this is the problem of traffic resulting from excavation and the willingness of customers to connect to the sewerage system.
The lack of land has resulted in both concessionaires’ adopting innovative designs for their treatment facilties.
For his part, MWSS Chief Regulator Patrick Ty explained that the sewerage or environmental charge is not allocated for specific sewerage (or environmental protection) projects.
Rather, it forms part of the overall tariff intended to reimburse Maynilad or Manila Water for their expenditures, whether for water or for wastewater.