SMC to help address Metro Manila water crisis
MANILA, Philippines — San Miguel Corp. (SMC) is willing to utilize its untapped water allocation from Angat Dam to provide water to over six million people in the east zone of Metro Manila currently experiencing supply shortage.
The company, through its Bulacan Bulk Water Treatment Plant, hopes to be able to deliver 140 million liters of clean, treated water to areas affected by the shortage upon coordination with, and approval by, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).
“This situation is unfortunate and dire for many of our countrymen who do not have access to basic water. Many are affected: households, hospitals, schools, businesses. Right now, the best thing we can do is to pull together and help each other, ” said SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang.
In January, SMC operationalized Stage 1 of its Bulacan Bulk Water Project. Once fully completed, the company is mandated to supply water to 24 Bulacan water districts at P8.50 per cubic meter, the lowest bulk water charge anywhere in the country.
Ang explained that currently, Phase 1 of the project has a production capacity of 200 million liters per day. However, as many water districts have yet to upgrade and prepare their facilities to receive water from the BBWSP, only about 60 million liters per day are currently being utilized.
“This leaves an excess capacity of about 140 million liters per day, which is enough to serve the average daily requirements of two million people or about 455,000 households. As a quick response to the situation of customers of Manila Water, we will coordinate with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and local government units to secure permits to place water refilling stations in affected areas,” Ang said.
Areas affected by the shortage are Mandaluyong (all barangays), San Juan (five barangays), Pasig (seven barangays), Angono (three barangays), Antipolo (10 barangays), Taytay (three barangays) and Binangonan (12 barangays). The list is expected to grow as the water crisis is anticipated to persist until July.
The undertaking, Ang said, would not be easy. To deliver the untapped capacity of 140 million liters per day will require an estimated 14,000 truck trips per day using 10-kiloliter (kl) tankers, or 7,000 trips per day using 20 kl tankers.
“For this, we need to acquire several container trucks to deliver water. Again, we will work and coordinate with the MWSS and LGUs on this. We hope to be able to implement this plan at the soonest possible time,” Ang said.
“However, in order to fully utilize the capacity, it will be necessary for us to open the Bulacan Bulk Water facility to allow third party suppliers to source potable water and assist in delivering water to affected communities. This will require clearance from MWSS as concession grantor. We will also need to coordinate with the LGUs for the organization and management of water filling stations,” Ang added.
If approved, the quick-response plan can be implemented for the next four months until the end of the El Niño episode.
The company also expressed its willingness to help find a long-term solution to the water problem, and contributing to government’s efforts to develop new water sources to prevent a similar crisis from happening again.