Water concessionaires face audit; Maynilad sets P2B investment

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    The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System-Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO) will conduct a yearly regulatory financial audit (RFA) on the two water concessionaires in Metro Manila to ensure compliance with the concession agreement and delivery of service obligations to customers.

    This developed as Maynilad Water Services Inc. has lined up projects worth more than P2 billion said to mitigate the impact of reduced water allocation in its concession area as a result of the troubling water level in Angat dam.

    Noting that that the current water level in Angat may close the year at “185-189 meters” Ramoncito Fernandez, Maynilad president, said the level indicates water supply that may not be enough for the demand come summer time and far from the ideal level of 210 meters.

    “We’re still cooperating on the reduced water allocation with MWSS (Metropolitan Water and Sewerage System) and NWRB (National Water Resources Board), and part of it is the rotational water interruption,” said Fernandez.

    As part of the P2 billion mitigating measure, Fernandez said Maynilad has increased the output of its Putatan II water treatment plant to 150 million liters per day (MLD) as of October, while optimizing the output for its its Putatan I facility, all sourcing water from Laguna de Bay.

    The company likewise has coordinated with the NRWB for the reactivation of the decommissioned deep-well facilities in its franchise area, to source an extra 62MLD of water by yearend.

    The company likewise intends to reduce its non-revenue water by another 95 million liters per day by February, while tapping into small water dams in Bacoor and Imus, Cavite to tap into another 27MLD of water by April next eyar.

    Fernandez said all in all the company expects to get 206MLD of water from the initiatives in time for summer, and further increase it to 233MLD when the “Cavite dam” initiative is completed.

    Fernandez said this is further complemented by the acquisition of 50 mobile tankers to complement the existing 50 of Manilad, and 30 additional static tankers to augment the existing 40, that will be situated “in the farthest and highest areas of the conscession.

    Manual Pangilinan, Maynilad chairman, said the concession currently gets 2,000 MLD of water from Angat out of the 2,400 MLD allocation as a result of the reduced water supply of 40 cubic meter per second (cms), down from the usual 46 cms.

    This has resulted to 28 percent of Maynilad’s customer base having has no water connection for about 10 hours in a day.

    Patrick Ty, MWSS chief regulator, said the agency has tapped Constantino and Partners to look at the books and records of Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Co. Inc. for the period of July 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2018.

    Ty said the 2019 RFA started yesterday November 6 with the detailed audit report expected to be released by the first quarter.

    The MWSS-Regulatory Office said the RFA was previously done only every five years.

    The body also warned the concessionaires that complaints about their schedule of water service interruptions may constitute a violation of theor concession agreements and that they may be liable to appropriate penalties.

    Ty said while the recent water shortages were caused by the dwindling supply from the Angat Dam, the water service interruption schedules are “within their control, and for which they may be held accountable.” (J. Macapagal and R. Castro)