In 1997, major improvements were needed in the provision of water and sewerage services in Metro Manila. Only 26% of the population served had 24-hour access to potable water and a mere 3% were connected to adequate wastewater treatment facilities. Coupled with these conditions were issues of high non-revenue water and indiscriminate discharge of untreated wastewater to all major water bodies of the metropolis. As a result, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), the government agency mandated to provide water and sewerage services in Metro Manila, privatized its operation via a public-private partnership. Manila Water Company obtained the exclusive right of providing these services for the East Zone of Metro Manila.
This paper identifies the challenges encountered in providing sewerage services during Manila Water's first 15 years of operation. Poor data availability, lack of available land, fragmented infrastructure planning, and low customer acceptance were among the key challenges that threatened the efficient delivery of service. Consequently, this paper also highlights the resultant strategies employed by Manila Water to address the aforementioned challenges. Implementation of inventive technical solutions, combined with the harnessing of human resources and increased stakeholder awareness, were among the strategies utilized to provide sewerage and sanitation services in the most efficient manner possible.
As of 2012, Manila Water now operates 38 wastewater facilities with a total capacity of 135 million liters per day (MLD) corresponding to 100% septage coverage and 23% sewerage coverage of the East Zone of Metro Manila.