MWSS taps Singapore experts as poor Laguna Lake water quality threatens NCR water supply

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is tapping experts from its Singaporean counterpart to address the deteriorating water quality in Laguna Lake as it may result in a reduction in Metro Manila’s potable water supply.

During the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City, MWSS Deputy Administrator Jose Dorado Jr. said the southern part of the National Capital Region, which is being supplied by Laguna Lake, was having issues with its water supply “dahil sa water quality nagkakaroon sila ng problema (because the water quality was giving them problems).”

For his part, MWSS Division Manager Patrick Dizon said the increased presence of “lumot” or blue-green algae in the lake clogs the water treatment facilities supplying Muntinlupa, Las Pi?as, Para?aque, and Taguig.

“Ang gagawin ng MWSS ngayon ay makipag coordinate kami sa Public Utilities Board ng Singapore. Ito po ‘yung equivalent ng MWSS… sila po ay pupunta sa Manila next week para i-asses ‘yung planta ng Maynilad sa Putatan,” Dizon said.

(We have coordinated with the Public Utilities Board of Singapore. This is the equivalent of MWSS… they will arrive in Manila next week to assess the Maynilad plant in Putatan.)

“Hihingi kami ng guidance kung anong correct na technology ang gagamitin based sa quality ng water,” Dizon added.

(We will seek guidance on what is the correct technology to be used based on the water quality.)

“They are third-party experts from Singapore,” the MWSS division head said.

The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) had earlier warned against the increased presence of blue-green algae in Laguna Lake during the El Ni?o phenomenon.

Muntinlupa Mayor Ruffy Biazon also underscored the need for the government and the private sector to keep an eye on all water resources, especially Laguna Lake, which is a major source of potable water.

Dizon said Laguna Lake supplies nine percent of Metro Manila’s water requirement.

He said that redundancies or additional water treatment plants are being constructed on Laguna Lake as another source of potable water.

“Ang gagawin po natin, may ginagawang treatment plant sa central bay at sa east bay ng Laguna Lake… part ng Rizal at malapit sa Laguna,” Dizon said.

“Ito ang mga additional treatment plant na ginagawa natin kasi natuto na kami sa Putatan 1 and 2 sa Muntinlupa,” he added.

In an earlier statement, West Zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad) said it laid out interventions, such as the installation of ultrasonic algae control equipment and the upgrading of its silt curtain, to prevent the situation from worsening to the point that it triggers water interruptions.

Maynilad, however, admitted that the prolonged high turbidity in the lake makes it harder for treatment plants to process water before supplying it to customers.

Maynilad said it began dredging the portion of the lake near its facility’s intake structure to minimize vulnerability to spikes in turbidity. It has also replaced the filters of its treatment plants more frequently than the filter’s expected lifespan.

The water concessionaire began tapping Laguna Lake as an alternate source of raw water in 2010. It is currently in the process of constructing its third treatment facility, which will be completed by the end of the year. — DVM, GMA Integrated News

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