SENATOR Grace Poe asked the major water concessionaires to do their utmost to avoid water service interruptions in their coverage areas in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
Despite the rains, the water level at Angat Dam decreased and in other dams except for Ambuklao and Ipo.
However, the water level in these dams remains below normal as of June 2.
“Having waterless days amid the rains shouldn’t be the normal. Consumers should never bear the brunt of concessionaires’ inability to store sufficient volumes of water to meet reasonable demands,” Poe reminded.
“Residents don’t deserve to live miserably, as their taps run dry for reasons that can be duly managed in the first place,” the senator stressed.
In February this year, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Regulatory Office penalized Maynilad Water Services Inc. (Maynilad) for its unusually prolonged water service interruptions from December 2021 to February 2022.
Poe, who sponsored Maynilad and Manila Water Co. Inc.’s renewal of franchises last year, said the firms should fulfill their obligations in delivering clean, quality, and reliable water services to consumers.
The senator pointed out that concessionaires are mandated to modify or improve their facilities, pipelines, and equipment for an efficient and reliable service. The two companies must also ensure that service interruptions would be minimal and that mechanisms are in place for consumer complaints and stakeholder consultations.
“Water interruptions affect not only households but also struggling businesses that are just beginning to recover from the lockdowns. A few hours without water could be disruptive,” she explained.
Poe said the government and concessionaires should also embark on timely efforts to develop concrete backup supply sources.
“Water firms are expected to address recurring strains in their capacity to deliver water to our people,” Poe said.
“Consumers who strive hard to set aside hard-earned sums to pay for their water bills should also get their fair share of clean water flowing without interruption,” Poe added.
Likewise, the MWSS Regulatory Office should have received the plans and programs of the water concessionaires for the next rate-rebasing exercise – the periodic performance review that also sets the tariff rates that can be charged for their services.
“Water is a basic right, and we hope the MWSS fulfills its role as a regulator to ensure that consumers aren’t shortchanged,” the senator pointed out.