A beer giant just offered water to end Manila's shortage, but there's a catch

Residents of Addition Hills in Madaluyong City, Metro Manila, queue to recieve water distributed on water tank truck and fire trucks, on March 15, 2019.
Residents of Addition Hills in Madaluyong City, Metro Manila, queue to recieve water distributed on water tank truck and fire trucks, on March 15, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) - San Miguel Corp, the Philippine company known for its brewery, is offering clean and treated water to help solve Manila's shortage.

The catch: it would take 14,000 trips a day using 10-kilolitre tankers from its treatment plant in Bulacan, north of the capital, to supply the 140 million litres that Manila Water Co Inc needs daily to end water interruptions, potentially adding to the capital's traffic woes.

Separately, state-run Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System has identified three sources that can provide 200 million litres of water a day. President Rodrigo Duterte ordered Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services Inc to address the shortage.

Mr Duterte on Friday (March 15) ordered the release of more water from Angat Dam. But Mr Patrick Ty, the chief regulator of the MWSS, said there were no existing means to bring additional raw water from Angat to Manila Water's treatment plant in Quezon City, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on Saturday.

"It is the responsibility of our long-privatised water utilities to ensure sufficient supply," Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement.

Mr Duterte's order came as the supply crunch hits its second week, with the shortage spreading to entire cities and lasting for days for some districts.

Customers of Manila Water, which serves half of the capital, have been queuing in front of water pumps, chasing firetrucks for supply and hoarding water containers as taps dry up.

 
 

Public hospitals in affected areas are turning away patients due to a lack of water. Some fast-food chains and restaurants are no longer serving drinks while affected malls have shut toilets, according to Twitter posts.

The Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati City has suspended operations of its water fountain due to the shortage.

Manila Water said on Friday that the 20-hour supply interruptions won't last the entire summer as the newly-energised Cardona treatment plant will deliver 50 million litres a day by mid-April from 22 million litres currently.

Cardona should have started operating in December.

Aside from Cardona, Maynilad will provide 50 million litres daily, while old wells of Manila Water will be reactivated to add 100 million litres a day, Mr Andanar said, citing Metropolitan Waterworks.