P12.25-B joint venture aims to improve MIWD coverage, service

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ILOILO City – Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) and Metro Pacific Water (MPW) signed a P12.25-billion 25-year joint venture agreement for the rehabilitation, expansion and improvement of the water district’s distribution system and wastewater management facilities.

MPW is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC), one of the country’s leading infrastructure investment company with interests across several sectors. The signing yesterday was held at Grand Xing Imperial Hotel.

The venture will start with the upgrading of MIWD’s existing facilities and building new infrastructure, said MPW director Ramoncito Fernandez.

MIWD aims to expand its service coverage and deliver safe and potable water to 1.4 million people in the next 25 years.

“Through various efficiency measures and investment in new pipes, we hope to bring the (current) 20 percent coverage closer to 100 percent by the end of the concession,” said Fernandez.

MIWD’s service areas include Iloilo City and the Iloilo municipalities of Pavia, Oton, Maasin, Cabatuan, Santa  Barbara, Leganes, and San Miguel.

The joint venture also includes septage and wastewater management services and additional water supply in excess of the currently contracted bulk water supply with Metro Iloilo Bulk Water Supply Corp. (MIB).

MIWD and MPW, too, would address non-revenue water (losses) by tapping new technologies that could detect leaks more accurately and improve response time in repairing leaks.

Meanwhile, according to MPIC president Jose Maria K. Lim who was present at yesterday’s joint venture agreement signing, MPW’s partnership with MIWD would ensure the continuing progress of Iloilo City.

“We bring with us expertise and innovations in infrastructure that will underpin growth of the city’s economy and impact the lives of millions of people,” said Lim.

This was also the promise MPIC gave in 2016 when it first partnered with MIWD to bring more water to households through a 170 million liters per day (MLD) bulk water project via MIB.

At that time, said Lim, water production at MIWD’s Santa Barbara Water Treatment Plant and the various deep wells was around 30 million MLD only.

But with the measures introduced by MIB, including rehabilitation of certain facilities, the maximum production volume increase to around 47 MLD, said Lim.

This would further increase to 60 MLD by March next year, he added.

Ilonggo senator Franklin Drilon, who also witnessed the joint venture agreement signing, described the undertaking as “light at the end of the tunnel”, citing the constant water supply problem and its poor distribution.

Sustainable water supply would result to the further progress of the city, said Drilon.

“We could not sell Iloilo city and province as livable areas and tourist and investment destinations if we have a water problem. It hinders development,” said Drilon./PN

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