MANILA -- An advocacy group on Saturday hit the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for endorsing private-public partnerships in solving water scarcity in some areas of the country, saying past experiences across the globe would tell otherwise.

The Water for the People Network (WPN) said allowing private corporations to take over the management and distribution of water resources will not address the water crisis following ADB’s warning that Asia will face a severe water crisis in 2030, with an estimated water supply shortfall of 40 percent.

To address the situation, the multilateral lender is drawing up a new framework for water operations that calls for efficiency improvement and greater PPPs.

WPN also hit ADB’s statement calling the country’s experience on water concession agreements as Asia’s “best example” in terms of PPP initiatives as the group presented the companies’ lapses in providing full access to water.

To recall, the privatization of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) in 1997 saw Manila Water and Maynilad handling the task of delivering water to almost 14 million people in Metro Manila and nearby areas.

“The WPN reminded the ADB that just a few months ago, almost half of Metro Manila suffered from water shortage and thousands of residents had to endure long queues and water rationing,” the statement read.

Authorities blamed the low water level at Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan as the reason behind the brief water shortage last July, but the WPN said the concessionaires failed to address structural issues since the MWSS privatization 13 years ago. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)