By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Maynilad Water Services, Inc. and Manila Water Company, Inc.— two of the biggest water concessionaires in the country — are now having issues on their existing raw water sharing agreement, which states how much raw water the two companies can get from Angat Dam before they convert it to clean and potable water.
This all started when Maynilad issued a series of water interruption advisories for some parts of the West Zone concession, saying that it has been receiving less than its proper allocation of raw water supply.
The company then appealed to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to order Manila Water restore Maynilad’s 60 percent share so it can refill the Bagbag Reservoir and stabilize water service for its customers.
In favor of Maynilad, the two companies have a 60-40 raw water sharing agreement, which has not been changed for the past 20 years.
At this point, Manila Water officials, who think that they had been “unfortunately dragged” in the issue, are suspecting that Maynilad may have been having “efficiency issues” that’s why its raw water supply is depleted.
“It is unfortunate and without warning that Manila Water’s name has been dragged in this issue, which could have been addressed [internally],” Manila Water president and chief executive officer Ferdinand Dela Cruz said after the company’s annual stockholders meeting on Monday.
For his part, Geodino Carpio, chief operating officer for Manila Water Operations, said that Maynilad may have been having problems in terms of efficiencies.
“Historically, for the past 20 years, Maynilad has been on the average getting more than its 60 percent of their share. You never hear about this because there is actually a body that actually collaborates and coordinates about how to balance the split,” Carpio said in an interview.
“If I were Maynilad, I’d probably look into the efficiencies in their system. For example, in their letter [to MWSS], they only got an average 2.313 MLD [million liters per day]. Now if you consult the webpage of Maynilad, they claim to have an NRW [non revenue water] system loss of 31 percent. Do the math and you will find out that they have more than enough of water they can supply their customers,” he added.
NRW is water that has been produced and is “lost” before it reaches the customer. As for Manila Water, its NRW stands at 11.6 percent at the moment.
Carpio said that as they now try to collaborate and implement measures how to balance the split, things will “hopefully on Maynilad’s side.”
Maynilad is now currently reviewing existing protocols on the raw water sharing with Manila Water so it can propose changes that will prevent this same situation from recurring.
“[The] fact remains that Maynilad still has not received its 60 percent share and thus the need to interrupt service. Let’s not divert the relevant issue,” Maynilad President and CEO Ramoncito Fernandez said in a text message when sought for comment.
“[We propose] no change in sharing . [There is] no miscommunication also. We just want the agreed scheme implemented religiously,” he added.
On Monday, Maynilad said that its La Mesa Treatment Plants already received an average of 2.350 MLD of raw water.
“This is still 10 MLD short of our 60 percent allocation of raw water, but is better than the 50-MLD allocation shortfall since April 1,” the company said.
With this improved supply, Maynilad has begun the process of refilling its Bagbag Reservoir, which got depleted last April 12 following the extended shortfall in Maynilad’s raw water allocation.
If this improvement in supply allocation is sustained, it will take another two days for Maynilad to fill up the reservoir and build pressure in the pipelines. Consequently, some Maynilad customers will still experience low pressure to no water supply until today.