MCWD eyes joint venture with PrimeWater to address water shortage

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MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/20 February 2020)—In a bid to address the city’s water problems, the Malaybalay City Water District (MCWD) is considering a 25-year joint venture with PrimeWater Infrastructure Corp.

Glenrose Ledesma, MCWD general manager, revealed this information during the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) session, Feb. 18.

She was initially called to explain the water interruptions implemented since January 22. MCWD serves 22 out of the city’s 46 barangays. More than half of these service areas currently experience 3 to 5-hour water interruption daily.

“Since the last quarter of 2019 we already felt the dry season, until now seldom ang pag-pour sa rain, so we are really short in water supply,” Ledesma said, adding that funding is needed for the expansion and rehabilitation of their facilities.

She said PrimeWater, controlled by former Senator Manny Villar, proposed to invest around Php 500 million for the first five years and a total of Php 2 billion for 25 years.

The funds will be used to construct three additional water treatment plants, rehabilitate the 20 to 40-year-old pipelines, maintain the facilities, and expand the services to 10 additional barangays.

Board member Richard D. Macas asked Ledesma if public consultation among the concessionaires is needed before the MCWD board can approve the joint venture.

She said that based on the 2013 NEDA guidelines for government joint venture with private entities, public consultation is not required. The head of agency, she added, will be the one to approve the proposal. However, Ledesma said public hearings will be needed to get the approval of water rate increase. Rate for residential use is currently set at Php 120 per 10 cubic meter.

Macas said that MCWD should include the environment component in the plan: “If Mother Earth will not give us water nga ma-filter didto sa atong structures, wala gihapon ta’y mahimo.”

Ledesma said watershed development is included in their plans. She said the joint venture is not yet approved although negotiation is already in its final stage. (Vergel Dolosa/ BukidnonNews.net intern from Bukidnon State University)

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