It was a challenging year for the Manila Concession as the water crisis and subsequent events affected its operations. Despite headwinds, topline grew by four percent to ₱16,842 million driven by the seven percent increase in average tariff but was partly tempered by the decline in billed volume to 493.9 million cubic meters (MCM) from 503.3 MCM in 2018.
The Manila Concession continues to rely heavily on the Umiray-Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water resource system. With the continued growth in Metro Manila and Rizal, the system is not enough to cover the demand which resulted a significant decline in dam levels in 2019. Both the La Mesa and Angat Dams reached critical levels on separate occasions, with the lowest levels at about 68.5 meters and 160 meters, respectively. As a response, the company focused on implementing water supply augmentation projects, specifically the completion of the Cardona Water Treatment Plant (CWTP), recommissioning and development of deep wells and network management projects. CWTP was completed in the first quarter of 2019 and is capable of producing 100 million liters per day (MLD) of raw water from Laguna Lake. Meanwhile, recommissioned and new deep wells had combined capacity of 55 MLD as of December 2019. Lastly, network management projects yielded even further improvements to the company’s already low Non-Revenue Water (NRW) levels. Also, in partnership with the Metropolitan Water and Sewerage System (MWSS), new water sources have already been identified and are in their respective phases of development.
The recent water shortage also highlights the need to protect and rehabilitate watersheds in Ipo, La Mesa and Umiray. Manila Water takes an active part in relevant activities because these are essential in mitigating the risks associated with the quality and quantity of water available for the concession. Manila Water continues to work closely with MWSS and DENR to ensure that projects toward the protection and rehabilitation of the watersheds are implemented. Several partnerships are also created in the project implementation stage. In the past, Manila Water has partnered with other entities such as ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. and Bantay Kalikasan for La Mesa Watershed protection and rehabilitation.
Consistent with its mandate, Manila Water continues to invest in wastewater. In 2019, the company completed the construction of the Pasig North and South Sewerage System, also known as the Ilugin Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP). The plant provides an additional 100 MLD capacity, covering the parts of Pasig, Taguig, Cainta and Taytay, to the existing 310 MLD capacity. This is also in line with the company’s environmental advocacy and is communicated through the Toka Toka Program. As of 2019, the company has already partnered with 34 local government units and non-government units in encouraging customers and partner organizations on proper waste disposal, proper sewer line connections, septic tank desludging and support for other community-based water management projects. Manila Water likewise supports the Supreme Court continuing mandamus for the clean-up and rehabilitation of the Manila Bay.