Iloilo businesses demand water service improvements

By Mariela Angella Oladive

ILOILO CITY — Various business groups in Iloilo City are urging Metro Pacific Iloilo Water (MPIW), the city’s major water distribution utility, to enhance its services amid the El Niño-induced water crisis, with the city currently under a state of calamity.

The Iloilo Economic Development Foundation Inc. (ILED), headed by Engr. Terence Uygongco, has voiced strong support for Mayor Jerry Treñas’ call for MPIW to urgently improve its water delivery services.

“The current water crisis is a significant concern, and immediate action is required to ensure the well-being of our residents and the continued growth of our local economy,” said Uygongco in a statement dated May 22.

“As the primary water distributor, MPIW is responsible for providing a reliable and sufficient water supply to all districts within its franchise area,” he added.

ILED backs the mayor’s planned discussions with MPIW to explore potential solutions, including transferring service areas that MPIW cannot adequately serve to other capable distributors.

The foundation emphasized the importance of MPIW exploring all possible avenues to enhance service delivery, including advanced technologies to reduce non-revenue losses.

While commending MPIW’s medium-term plans for a 60.5 MLD desalination plant, ILED urged the company to expedite these projects to alleviate the current crisis.

Treñas previously announced that he would meet with MPIW and South Balibago Waterworks to discuss their obligation to deliver water to consumers.

Similarly, the Iloilo Business Club (IBC) has demanded immediate action from MPIW. “Diversifying water sources is essential for safeguarding uninterrupted service delivery to businesses and residents alike,” stated IBC President Emil Diez in a letter to MPIW.

The Iloilo Federation for Information Technology (IFIT), led by Jessraf Palmares, also issued a position paper addressing the water shortage crisis.

The paper highlighted the impact on the 45,000 full-time employees in Iloilo’s IT-BPM industry, noting that the water shortage affects employee productivity, investor confidence, and economic growth.

“This shortage not only affects work performance but also threatens business operations, discourages future investments, and impedes economic growth. Immediate and strategic action is required to ensure a sustainable water supply and to maintain the momentum of Iloilo’s economic development,” IFIT stated.

The Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Iloilo, Inc. (FCCCII) echoed these demands, urging MPIW to fast-track infrastructure improvements to increase water supply and enhance distribution.

FCCCII also called for improved transparency and communication from MPIW, regular updates on infrastructure projects, and a responsive customer service system to address complaints promptly.

“Should MPIW fail to adequately address these issues within a reasonable timeframe, we urge the relevant authorities to consider allowing other qualified water distributors to operate in the franchise area,” FCCCII added.

They expressed readiness to collaborate with MPIW and other stakeholders to find sustainable solutions.

The Iloilo Hotels, Restaurants and Resorts Association (IHRRA), led by Angela Mapua Abenir, highlighted the impact of the water crisis on their businesses, noting additional costs and challenges during a surge in conferences, conventions, and tourism.

They stressed the urgency of finding a solution to sustain Iloilo’s reputation as a tourism destination, particularly after being awarded the City of Gastronomy by the United Nations.

Meanwhile, MPIW has previously announced openness to other water utilities to serve Iloilo City to help address the ongoing water crisis.

It is currently distributing only 30 percent of the city-procured water, significantly lower than the 70 percent committed by South Balibago Waterworks Inc. (SBWI), to avoid affecting their regular delivery to consumers.

As of May 22, the total bulk water supply of MPIW is at 56.2 MLD, which is already at a critical level. The normal operation level ranges from 70 to 80 MLD.

MPIW also revealed that as short-term solutions to address the water needs of the city, they are looking at recovering water losses of 10 million liters per day through pipe rehabilitation and using technology such as the Sahara Mobile Leak Detection and Tyfo-Fibre Wrap Technology.


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