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I used to live in the South, Santa Rosa Laguna to be specific, where the water supply is used both for household chores and for drinking.
Yes, we drink water straight from the faucet, no filtration or boiling needed. Also, because that was the time (the early 90s) when water refilling stations are still scarce. During those times of drinking straight from the tap, I never suffered from any gastrointestinal problems or diarrhea due to contaminated water. Moreover, we don’t usually experience water supply interruption except during typhoons and that usually takes a maximum of 3 days. We were actually never bothered by water supply interruption since we have two deep wells in our neighborhood.
When I got married, I moved to Quezon City to start a family. And that is when I realized that we have other water providers aside from what we have in the South. I thought parang Meralco lang, na nationwide hehe. That’s when I learned about Maynilad Water Services, Inc. or Maynilad.
Maynilad caters to 17 cities in the West Zone of the Greater Metro Manila.
These are cities of Manila (all but portions of San Andres and Sta. Ana), Quezon City (west of San Juan River, West Avenue, EDSA, Congressional. Mindanao Avenue, the northern part starting from the Districts of Holy Spirit and Batasan Hills). Makati (west of South Super Highway), Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Pinas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon, all in Metro Manila; the cities of Cavite, Bacoor and Imus. And the towns of Kawit, Noveleta, and Rosario, all in the Province of Cavite.
Maynilad is managed by DMCI-MPIC Water Company, Inc. which is owned and operated by Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), DMCI Holdings Inc. (DMCI) and Marubeni Corp. It was January 24, 2007, when MPIC-DMCI took control of Maynilad. Their concession area covers a total of 540 square kilometers. And it operates and maintains 4 water treatment plants, 22 wastewater plants, 36 pumping stations, 32 reservoirs, 28 in-line boosters and has laid 3,137 kilometers of water pipelines since 2007, bringing the total of water pipelines laid to 7,713 kilometers.
As of December 31, 2019, Maynilad’s customer base has reached to 1,453,979 service connections or more than 9.7 million people.
In collaboration with Maynilad, I, together with other mommy bloggers of Mommy Bloggers Philippines had a rare opportunity to visit Angat Dam and Ipo Dam last February 18, 2020. It was a windy and fun-filled learning experience with my fellow mommy bloggers!
Our first stop was Angat Dam located at Norzagaray, Bulacan which is a 2-hr drive from Maynilad Office.
Angat Dam as a multi-purpose dam.
Angat Dam is used for power generation (managed by Angat Hydropower Corporation or AHC), irrigation through the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) and for domestic water supply through the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).
Did you know that about 91% of Maynilad’s raw water supply comes from Angat Dam? And the remaining 9% comes from Laguna Lake. Maynilad is the first water concessionaire to tap Laguna Lake as an alternative source of raw water supply for Metro Manila.
From Angat Dam, raw water flows downward to the much-smaller Ipo Dam and to the Novaliches Portal. Where the water is divided between two private water concessionaires of MWSS – Manila Water for the East Zone and Maynilad for the West Zone area. Maynilad gets more than half (60%) due to its bigger customer base.
While the two concessionaires share the raw water supply from Angat and Ipo Dams, only Manila Water gets raw water from La Mesa Dam.
The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) is the government agency that is responsible to determine the allocation of raw water supply from Angat Dam for MWSS and NIA. The normal allocation for MWSS is 48 cubic meters per second. And shared among Metro Manila residents and nearby provinces such as Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan.
After a short discussion with Engr. Rodel Tumandao from the Water Source Department of Maynilad about the process of how raw water from Angat Dam gets to our houses. We went straight ahead to Ipo Dam which is an hour away to Angat Dam.
At present, the water level in Angat Dam is above its minimum operating level. But NWRB still retained reduced allocation for MWSS at 42cms. The reason for this is because the water level is still lower than ideal. NWRB wants to ensure that there will be still enough water by the time the summer months arrive.
Rotational Water Supply Interruption as an immediate solution
- When Maynilad is given less than usual water allocation, it is constrained to maximize the limited supply by rotating it to the different areas within its concession. This is to ensure that all customers will have a chance to store water, within only a few hours daily.
- The duration of service interruptions per area is dependent on the hydraulic configuration of the pipelines. This means that some areas will experience longer or shorter service interruptions owing to their location.
- There are certain FACTORS that cause the delay of supply resumption such as the volume of withdrawal from the pipelines as customers start getting water. Other factors also include the topography of the area (low-lying areas feel the supply resumption earlier than those in highly-elevated areas) and the actual raw water supply that enters Maynilad’s treatment plants for the day.
When they receive LOWER volume, that means LESS water for distribution.
- Since the simultaneous withdrawal of water from the pipelines affects water pressure, Maynilad strongly advises its customers to just store enough water that they will need for the duration of a service interruption.
Drawing too much water after service resumption will not only prevent the supply from reaching highly elevated areas, this may also cause your water’s bill to spike.
- Some customers may also experience slight water discoloration which is a natural effect of service interruptions as the returning flow of water tends to scrape the mineral deposits from the internal lining of pipes. It is advised to let the water flow until it becomes clear. However, if discoloration persists, you may report it to Maynilad for further investigation.
The daily service interruptions will be in effect for as along the raw water allocation given to Maynilad (from Angat Dam) is below its requirement. As per NWRB, this will remain in effect until June 2020 but continuous monitoring of Angat and Ipo Dams are being done to check if the water levels improve enough to raise the allocation.
Furthermore, we were able to meet the Maynilad Water Supply Operations Head Engr. Ronald Padua and discussed Maynilad’s future plans.
How Maynilad Prepare for Summer 2020
Maynilad has been implementing countermeasures that would help the water supply distribution to its 9.7 million customers despite the water supply shortage in Angat and Ipo Dams.
- Maynilad’s first facility to draw water from Laguna Lake since 2010. The Putatan Water Treatment Plant 1 (PWTP 1) produces 150 million liters per day (MLD) of potable water.
- Maynilad invested in a second treatment plant, PWTP 2, that draws another 150 MLD from Laguna Lake.
- They have been reactivating existing deep wells within their concession area. This will add around 52 MLD by April 2020.
- Maynilad inherited one of the oldest pipe networks in Asia, with some segments dating back to the Spanish times. After spending millions worth of investments, the company has already replaced over 2,500 kilometers of old pipes. And repaired more than 360,000 pipe leaks since 2008.
- They have been exploring how to establish modular water treatment plants that will extract raw water from Cavite rivers within the West concession. This will yield around 13MLD by April 2020 and another 14 MLD by August 2020.
- Maynilad deployed 69 mobile tankers and 32 SWTs to different areas within the concession.
- Conducting scheduled cloud-seeding operations with MWSS, Bureau of Soils and Water Management, PAGASA and Philippine Air Force.
After our educational field trip, I became more aware of where and how our water is treated from the source down to our faucets.
Learning the current status of our raw water supply also makes me realized how important for everybody to use our water supply responsibly. While Maynilad is doing its part in managing our water supply, let us do our part as consumers as well by conserving water.
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