MPIW launches multi-pronged plan to tackle Iloilo's water shortage

ILOILO. Metro Pacific Iloilo Water (MPIW) Chief Operating Officer, Angelo David Berba (center), discusses the company's commitment to finding long-term solutions for Iloilo's water shortage
ILOILO. Metro Pacific Iloilo Water (MPIW) Chief Operating Officer, Angelo David Berba (center), discusses the company's commitment to finding long-term solutions for Iloilo's water shortage (Photo by Leo Solinap)

COMMITTED to providing long-term solutions to Iloilo's water shortage, Metro Pacific Iloilo Water (MPIW) is implementing a multi-pronged approach that combines infrastructure upgrades, leak detection technology, and the development of new water sources.

“We understand the challenges of water scarcity and are actively working to address them,” said Angelo David Berba, MPIW chief operating officer. 

In a press conference on May 22, 2024, Berba said the short-term plans aim to recover lost water through pipe rehabilitation.

“Our short-term plans focus on recovering 10 million liters per day (MLD) of lost water through pipe rehabilitation, leak detection technology like Sahara Mobile and Tyfo- Fibre Wrap Technology," Berba said.

The company acknowledges the impact of climate change on its current water sources.  

Previously, MPIW relied heavily on two bulk water suppliers, leaving the system vulnerable during droughts.

“We take responsibility for the service interruptions and are open to collaborating with other bulk water suppliers. In the medium term, we are developing a 60.5 MLD desalination plant with pre-development works having started in January 2024," Berba said.

Iloilo City's growing population and economic activity have significantly increased water demand. 

Densely populated areas with high-rise buildings and condominiums have stretched the existing water infrastructure to its limits.

To address this growing demand, MPIW is investing over P1 billion in water service improvements from 2 to 2027.  

This includes the installation of new pipelines and the replacement and repair of aging infrastructure. Significantly, MPIW is expecting the arrival of the largest diameter pipeline in Asia-Pacific from Spain in June. 

This new pipeline will be installed in Iloilo City, a region identified with high water loss due to aging infrastructure.

The Iloilo Business Club (IBC), a key stakeholder in the local economy, recognizes the importance of a stable and sustainable water supply.  

In a petition submitted to MPIW, IBC President Emil Diez emphasized the need for diversifying water sources and urged the company to take immediate action to address the water shortage.

“We believe that diversifying water sources is essential for safeguarding and ensuring uninterrupted service delivery to businesses and residents alike,” said Diez.

By combining infrastructure upgrades, leak detection technology, and the development of new water sources, MPIW aims to achieve long-term water security for Iloilo City and surrounding areas. 

This multi-pronged approach addresses the immediate need for increased water supply while also laying the groundwork for a more resilient water system in the future.

The Iloilo Economic Development Foundation Inc. (ILED), a business group representing Iloilo City and the Province, on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, expressed strong support for Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Trenas' call for improved water delivery services from MPIW.

Engineer Terence Uygongco, chairman of ILED, highlighted the urgency of addressing the current water crisis, emphasizing the impact on residents and businesses. 

The group pointed out MPIW's responsibility as the primary water distributor and the recent issues of prolonged interruptions and insufficient water supply.

"The disparity in water delivery highlights the necessity for MPIW to take swift and effective measures to address the current water scarcity," the ILED statement said.

ILED echoed Trenas' plan to meet with MPIW to discuss solutions and consider transferring underserved areas to other capable distributors. 

The group also urged MPIW to explore ways to improve service delivery, including reducing non-revenue water losses through advanced technologies.

While acknowledging MPIW's plans for a new desalination plant, ILED stressed the need for immediate action.

 "We commend MPIW's medium-term plans for a 60.5 MLD Desalination Plant and urge them to expedite these projects to mitigate the current crisis," the statement said.

"However, if MPIW is unable to meet the urgent water needs of our community, ILED advocates for the consideration of other competent water distributors to ensure that all residents and businesses have access to a reliable water supply," ILED added.

The group reiterated its commitment to supporting initiatives that benefit Iloilo City. 

"We urge MPIW to act swiftly and decisively to resolve this critical issue, ensuring that our city's water needs are met without further delay," the ILED statement said. (Leo Solinap/SunStar Philippines)

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