The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) have entered into an agreement to share their resources in order to better support the infrastructure thrust of the government.
MWSS Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco and NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya signed the agreement to form an alliance between their agencies, citing that the pact would also enhance their capabilities to solve water and food security problems facing their stakeholders by allowing for the formation of joint projects.
One example would be flood mitigation measures that would likewise maintain ecological balance and preserve the environment.
Of MWSS’ 46 cubic meters per second (cms) water rights, 15 cms are from NIA’s 36 cms water rights. This is pursuant to Resolution No. 03-0188 of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB). Thus, NIA is left with 21 cms, which is equivalent to 1,814 million liters per day (MLD) of water.
Velasco said that there is adequate water supply in Metro Manila, as well as in its surrounding provinces also serviced by MWSS. Of this supply, 96 percent is sourced from the Angat-Umiray Water system, while 3 percent comes from Laguna Lake. Only 1 percent comes from ground water.
The MWSS is also currently implementing several water infrastructure projects, such as the Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project and a collective of projects referred to as the Angat Water Security Projects.
According to Velasco, no new water sources have been developed since the establishment of the Angat-Umiray system which was decades ago. The agency chief said that additional water sources need to be developed to ensure continued water security for these areas.
MWSS also recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with ITP-JV Co. to conduct a feasibility study on whether untapped water can be utilized. IPT-JV Co. submitted a proposal to extract a possible average flow of 800 MLD. From this amount, 400 will go to augmenting Bulacan’s supply, and 400 will be used by the MWSS.
NIA’s Bustos Dam has a current water capacity of 600 MLD, with 1,214 MLD that could still be tapped for potable water supply.
Visaya said that both agencies support the “Build, Build, Build” program of the Duterte administration. As such, they have formed plans to increase the extraction of water to increase available water supple, like through the Angat-Ito-Norzagaray Water Optimization Plan.
The NIA chief added that efficient partnership between government agencies and with the private sector are the key to future water security.
The completion of the proposed water projects would provide for Metro Manila its desired water security level for at least the next 5-10 years.