Water industry in the Philippines

Following information is collected in conversation and help from: M. Marbella and T. Bonifacio – two civil engineering students of Mapua Institute of Technology, E. Gonzales – Business Development Manager of Degremont Philippines, P. N – Network Planning Manager of Manila Water and Instructor at Mapua IoT and some other resources with personal research.
1. Water industry in Metro Manila (MM) was privatized since 1997. It is operated, maintained and developed by Manila Water (MW) and Maynilad by 2 concession contracts for the Eastern and Western halves of MM. On the contrary, in Vietnam, there are independent water companies in each province, in which, GOVERNMENT keep at least 51% of ownership.

2. Since then, Manila Water and Maynilad have their OWN standards in design, construction, operation and management. In contrast, in Vietnam, there is a COMMON standard, policy for whole country which all water companies, water projects must to follow.
3. Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System is government authority to manage activities of MW and Maynilad in Metro Manila, include water tariff.
4. Water industry here mostly uses US/British measurement system, while in Vietnam, it’s International measurement system.

5. In the Philippines, water engineers are from graduated civil engineering students (bachelor). In which, they study about VARIOUS things (construction, transportation, water engineering, environmental engineering, etc). The specific major is chosen in master study. Whereas, in Vietnam, we study A SPECIFIC major only. In Mapua, when study water engineering, professors don’t require students to buy books, since they teach on their own and don’t depend on any book.
Mostly civil engineers are fond of study structural engineering more than water engineering. So now Mapua even doesn’t offer master water engineering course since it’s not in demand.
6. Both MW and Maynilad have their own internal magazines, MW has quarterly published magazine Agos and Maynilad publishs their Ripples magazine each 2 months.

In fact, MW is more on management, they hire construction companies to design & build, provide equipment, and then they hire consultant companies to monitor those construction companies. For operation system, MW ensures the minimum pressure of water supply is 7psi. About water quality, MW ensures to reach Philippines National Standard Drinking Water. MW takes water samples from customers randomly, have them tested in their own ISO laboratory – the only ISO laboratory in Southest Asia region then submit results to Department of Health annually. MW is doing good in reduce NRW, since 1997 until now, it is
reduced from 60-70% to 10%, any leak report is worked on within 24 hours.

MW has its own hydraulic models based on WaterGEMs and GIS information based on ArcGIS. Manila Water divided its covered area into 8 Business Areas (BA), there are 8 Network Planning Managers for those BAs, and P is Manager of Balara. There are 2 others in his Department are in charge of Clark, Cebu, Boracay. As a Network Planning Manager (NPM), P develops and updates hydraulic models and simulation of network master plan (primary, secondary and teriary) by WaterGEMs, At the same time, updates GIS information on ArcGIS. They are updated WEEKLY. He has learned to use WaterGEMs and ArcGIS from teammates and supervisor, they also attend annual training from ISRI – a company which is hired by MW to train them.
MW also has their own SCADA system which data loggers are installed to measure flow and pressure. The data are sent each 15 minutes to laptop of managers. The number of data loggers needed depend on how big and complex the area is. They also have manual monitoring equipment which is easily change from place to place. There are telemetres to measure how much water is being given to District Metering Area and business zone to manage NRW. Actually, lead detection can be found by 3
resources: commercial loses, administration loses and physical loses. He also gives support to BA to optimize flow, pressure as well and improve Billed Volume and minimize NRW. He can inform BA about potential leakage points, to repair it, each BA has their own technical team to go to field with Network Efficient Manager.
If he finds out there is a greater consumption demand, he suggests BA to propose a project. It’s either increase facility (pump, pipe, other equipment), upgrade, expand the existing WTP or build a new one.
Since the time he started to work (July 2012), he gave around 30 suggestions (projects). It really takes process for those suggestions to go to reality. He is the one to design it, then submit to Engineering Department => Costing => questioned by Development Department Head => present to Group Director of company. The minimum time was 2 months and maximum one was 3 years since it’s really depend on land, Government. Sometimes if there is a road construction, they need to go with it (lay the pipeline in advance). Since roads in the Philippines have 5 years warranty so if MW dig the road to lay a pipeline, they need to pay for both warranty and replacement fee. According to P, MW employees are not allowed to receive gifts, meals from partners (construction companies for example). If there is someone in the business wants to give gifts for them, they must go
through HR Department, and those gifts are given on Christmas party. There was employee of MW was terminated because of receiving “under the table” things.
According to P, the water industry in the Philippines need to be enhanced in provinces where local government manages the water system which it is necessary to have proper planning and effective management.

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