Philippine agency imposes $21m fine for water shortage

Manila – The Philippines’ Water Regulatory Agency on Wednesday imposed a fine of over one billion pesos (21 million dollars) to a distribution company for a supply shortage that left 1.2 million people without water for days in March.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said Manila Water Company Inc. failed to comply with the concession agreement for servicing parts of the capital.

Manila Water, one of two companies awarded concession contracts for water distribution in the capital region was directed under MWSS’s order to pay a penalty of 534 million pesos.

It also set aside a fund of 600 million pesos for the development of a new water supply source.

The company said in a statement that it held itself “accountable for our inability to provide our consumers with the usual uninterrupted water service’’ and that it would comply with the directive.

In March, 1.2 million customers of Manila Water had no water supply or low water pressure, for no less than one week due to a supply shortage, which the company blamed on decreasing water levels from its reservoir amid a dry spell.

MWSS administrator Reynaldo Velasco said the water crisis in March highlighted the need to develop new water sources and to prepare strategic allocations for water supply to concessionares.

“The water shortage was an eye-opener, though the new MWSS board inherited lingering problems from the previous administration.

“We are on a catch up mode and it’s only this administration under President Rodrigo Duterte that we have seriously put on track a realistic and doable water security roadmap to ensure adequate water supply,’’ Velasco added.

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