Maynilad, the private water concessionaire for the West Zone of the Greater Manila Area, has organized the residents of Isla Puting Bato in Tondo, Manila into four water associations which will oversee the new water system that the company installed to answer the need for clean, reliable, and affordable drinking water in the area.
More than 3,000 poor families endured almost a decade without ready access to water since Isla Puting Bato was disconnected from Maynilad’s water network in 2000. The water company was forced to cut off their service due to outstanding bills that ballooned to P2 million.
Recently, Maynilad implemented the P6.92 million water project through a financial grant by the office of Congressman Benjamin Asilo to address the water needs of Isla Puting Bato residents.
As part of an agreement between Maynilad’s Tondo Business Area and the residents, the water associations of Pinagkaisahang Samahang Maralita ng Isla Puting Bato Purok 1, 2, 3 and 4 were formed to manage the operation of the new water system. Maynilad lay a kilometer of new 100-mm pipes from a Maynilad mainline along Delpan corner R-10 to the four puroks, which were installed with a bulk meter each.
Before the project, Isla Puting Bato residents had to depend on a water pilfering syndicate that sold water at P5 to P12 per 20-liter container. “The water we get directly from Maynilad costs only P1 per container,” said Romy Pa-a, overall chairman of the water associations. “Maynilad has always been the cheaper option; also, we’re more assured of the quality of our water now because we know where it comes from.”
With the project, the residents of the four puroks now enjoy reliable water at 15 pounds per square inch (psi) pressure. The savings generated by the water associations are also spent on improvement projects in the community.
Maynilad forms water associations among poor communities to instill a sense of ownership and responsibility among the residents in taking care of their new water system. Protecting the pipes from illegal connections and ensuring the prompt payment of bills are critical in sustaining the delivery of safe, reliable and affordable water to poor communities.
Maynilad is owned and managed by DMCI-MPIC Water Company, Inc. (DMWCI), a joint venture between Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) and DMCI Holdings, Inc. (DMCIHI). The consortium took control of Maynilad on January 24, 2007.