‘PERFECT UNION’: MPIW’s desal plant project highlights water security and sustainable energy

(From left to right) MPW AVP for Business Development Jonet Sanalila, MPW President Andrew Pangilinan, Suze Chairman and CEO Sabrina Soussan, and Suez’s SEA Managing Director Farchad Kaviani.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

The desalination plant project of Metro Pacific Water Investments Corp. (Metro Pacific Water) in Iloilo City will not only ensure water security in Metro Iloilo but will also feature sustainable energy use.

Metro Pacific Water and global environmental services leader Suez recently announced the construction of a 65-million liters per day (MLD) desalination plant in Iloilo City.

The groundbreaking partnership was sealed on June 18, 2024, in a signing ceremony at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, with Metro Pacific Water President and CEO Christopher Andrew B. Pangilinan and Suez Asia Head Farchad Kaviani.

The desalination plant is part of Metro Pacific Water’s medium-term plans and will be powered by a ₱2.3-billion Integrated Solid Waste Management Facility (ISWMF) waste-to-energy project, developed in collaboration with MetPower Venture Partners Holdings, Inc.

The ISWMF will also be located in Barangay Ingore, La Paz, Iloilo City and has the capacity to process 475 tons of waste per day.

The facility is expected to generate up to 3.5 megawatts of electricity, in addition to the 10 megawatts to support the desalination plant. The desalination plant, in turn, will provide an additional water supply that can be sold at a lower price to city residents.

This project not only provides a sustainable energy source for the desalination plant but also addresses waste management challenges in the region.

Amid rapid economic and population growth driven by the business process outsourcing (BPO) and tourism sectors, Metro Iloilo faces increasing strain on its water resources.

The new desalination plant aims to address this critical challenge by converting saltwater from the Iloilo Strait into potable water, adding 50 to 60 MLD to the city’s water supply.

Designed for efficiency by implementing SUEZ’s advanced SeaDAF™ Filter technology, the compact plant is expected to be completed within 24 months from the start of construction.

The plant is poised to be the largest facility of its kind in the Philippines, producing approximately 66,500 cubic meters of water daily, supplying drinking water to nearly 50,000 households and the industrial water needs of a nearby power plant.

“This partnership with Suez marks a significant step forward in our commitment to providing a sustainable and reliable water supply for the people of Metro Iloilo. The new desalination plant will ensure we can meet the rapidly growing demand of this dynamic metropolitan area for years to come,” Pangilinan said.

Kaviani echoed the sentiment, highlighting the collaboration’s importance to the region.

“We are proud to partner with Metro Pacific Water on this important project. Our expertise in desalination technology will contribute to a secure and sustainable water source for Iloilo,” Kaviani said.

The desalination plant will benefit consumers of Metro Pacific Iloilo Water (MPIW), a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Water that was formed after a joint venture by the government-owned Metro Iloilo Water District

Strategically located in Barangay Ingore, Lapaz, within Iloilo City, the plant ensures a direct and efficient supply, mitigating long-standing water shortages.

David Berba, MPIW Chief Operating Officer Water, emphasized the location’s strategic advantage.

“What is good with this desalination [plant] is that it is located within the southern part, in Iloilo City itself, at Barangay Ingore. Right now, the supply source is from Maasin, which is in the far north, while that of the other source is in the northeast, so the flow going to Iloilo City is already used up by consumers, as we have seen in Pavia, where there has been commercial growth left and right,” Berba said.

He added that the integration of the desalination plant into the ISWMF facility will minimize production costs and will reinforce efforts of the city towards environmental protection and sustainability.

“Through this collaboration, Metro Pacific Water and Suez are setting a benchmark for future infrastructure projects, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to sustainability and innovation to meet the evolving needs of growing communities,” Berba said.

Metro Pacific Water, a leading developer and operator of water and wastewater infrastructure in the Philippines, serves over 5 million people across the Philippines and Vietnam. Metro Pacific Iloilo Water serves Iloilo City and the municipalities of Pavia, Leganes, Sta. Barbara, Cabatuan, Oton, San Miguel, and Maasin.


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