Consulting Firm to Prepare Manila Water Supply & Sewerage Masterplan

Leading environmental consulting firm, Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM), has been appointed to prepare a Water Supply and Sewerage Master Plan until the year 2025 for Metro Manila and its environs.

May 26th, 2005

The environmental consulting firm Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) has been appointed to prepare a Water Supply and Sewerage Master Plan until the year 2025 for Metro Manila and its environs.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) in Manila has made the appointment, under a World Bank Technical Assistance Project. The service area of the MWSS covers 16 cities and 21 municipalities with a current population in excess of 11 million. This population is projected to increase to 20 million by 2025.

Sinclair Knight Merz Project Manager, Ross Kearton said that based on 2003 information, 81% of the population in the service area currently has access to water supply.

"Unfortunately, future development in Manila has been constrained by the need to develop a major new water source to increase the raw water supply from 4000 million litres per day to about 7000 million litres per day in 2025," Kearton said. "Water losses currently account for about 58% of the raw water supply and are projected to be reduced to 30% by 2025."

Manila's sewerage system only covers about 10 % of the population, with the remainder primarily using septic tanks. This has resulted in gross pollution of the rivers and streams in the city.

In 1997, the operations of MWSS were privatized and divided into two concession areas: Manila Water Company (for the East Zone of Manila) and Maynilad Water Services (for the West Zone of Manila). The concessions will continue until 2022, a few years short of the master planning period.

"SKM will develop an affordable, long term strategy for water supply, sewerage and sanitation services to that take into account the investment plans of the concessionaires and the long term objectives of the Philippines Government in the sector," Kearton said.

"A major constraint in the development of sewerage services in the past has been the impact on tariffs and the ability or willingness of consumers to pay for a sewerage service," he said.

"The SKM team will conduct a "willingness to pay" survey amongst a sample of consumers and develop a sewer charging policy to address this issue," Kearton added.

An institutional study will also be conducted to examine the appropriate relationships between MWSS, the water and sewerage regulatory office, the concessionaires and other agencies involved in the water sector in Metro Manila.

The Study will also help planners develop a framework for the efficient operation of the sector during the remainder of the concession period and beyond.

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