MWSS to impose P1.15 billion fine on Manila Water over shortage
The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) on Wednesday announced that it will impose a P1.15 billion fine on water concessionaire Manila Water over the water shortage issue, which affected several areas in Metro Manila and Rizal in March.
MWSS said it has sanctioned a P534.05 million fine and an additional P600 million to be used as a fund to develop a new water supply source. According to MWSS, the penalty was due to Manila Water's failure to comply with the concession agreement.
Manila Water failed to comply with Article 10.4 of the agreement which stated that the water concessionaire should provide a 24/7 water supply service to its customers.
The penalties are in addition to Manila Water's self-imposed penalty worth P500 million which was used to provide assistance and relief to the affected consumers.
Manila Water President and CEO Ferdinand dela Cruz said the concessionaire will abide with the imposed penalties.
"We will abide by the MWSS decision to impose a penalty. While we are not the root cause for the inadequacy of the raw water supply coming from Angat Dam which we are mandated to treat and distribute, Manila Water, as agent and contractor of water services of MWSS, hold ourselves accountable for our inability to provide our customers with the usual uninterrupted water service," Dela Cruz said.
Dela Cruz cited insufficient water supply from Angat Dam as a reason for the shortage issues suffered by many users last month.
He added that the 1,600 million liters per day (MLD) raw allocation for Manila Water remained unchanged since 1997 when they served only 3 million people in the East Zone.
"Today, Manila Water serves a population of almost 7 million people whose per capita consumption has significantly increased through over two decades of economic progress in Metro Manila," he explained.
"We cannot source any more from our system losses which have already been brought down to 12 percent from a high of 63 percent when we inherited the East Zone concession of Metro Manila in 1997," he added.
According to Dela Cruz, there are progress made in addressing remaining issues on water supply shortage in some areas.
"As of April 23, we have made water available for at least 8 hours, at least at the ground floor level, to 99 percent of our customer base. We have narrowed the gap of our supply deficit which has been reduced to 57 million liters per day from a high of 150 million liters per day through various supply augmentation efforts," Dela Cruz said.
"We reaffirm our commitment to work closely with MWSS to address the remaining water supply deficit. We continue to seek understanding from our consumers as we fine tune our operations to spread the still limited water supply across our customer base," he added.
MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco called the water crisis an "eye-opener."
"We are on a catch-up mode and it's not only this administration under President Rodrigo Duterte that we have seriously put on track a realistic and doable water security roadmap to ensure adequate water supply," Velasco said. Cristina Eloisa Baclig/DMS