Duterte Seeks Advice From Singapore To Ease Water Crisis
To help ease Metro Manila’s worsening water crisis, President Rodrigo Duterte is turning to Singapore for help.
In a statement last Tuesday (March 19), President Duterte told Singapore’s new Ambassador to Manila, Mr. Gerard Ho,
“We need a lot of advice from Singapore, and I’m sure the advice will go a long way to help us solve our problem, especially water.
Duterte was especially interested in Singapore’s experience with desalination as he told Mr. Ho he knows that Israel and Singapore (have) the best operating (desalination) machines. Singapore has three desalination plants that produce up to 490 million liters per day, enough to cover up to 30 percent of its water needs. Experts estimate that it would cost more than US$2 (PHP105.5 billion) per cubic meter of water.
The main cause of this water shortage is because Manila Water does not have access to enough water sources to cover growing demand. Manila Water draws 1.6 billion liters a day from Angat dam, in Bulacan province, north of Manila.
In recent years, though, it has had to supply 1.75 billion liters a day, as the population in its concession area grows. To cover for the shortfall, Manila Water has also been drawing water from the much smaller La Mesa dam. However, the recent long dry spell has brought the water level at La Mesa plunged to its lowest level in 21 years, and Manila Water could no longer draw sufficient volume from it.
Manila Water has been taking the blame by government regulators, due to their failure to augment its capacity to provide water rationing. However, according to the company officials, the government has yet to approve its requests to build more reservoirs and water treatment plants, as well as proposals to build new dams.