The Philippines has started to provide recycled potable water to its residents through Maynilad Water Services Inc. to meet growing demands and augment water supplies.
The water and wastewater service provides water to the 17 cities and municipalities comprising the West Zone of the Greater Metro Manila area. These cities are among the country’s most populous and densely populated urban areas.
It was back in June 2022 that Maynilad, the west zone water concessionaire, revealed plans to recycle used water from its sewer treatment plants (STP) to make it potable and similar to what other countries like Singapore, South Africa, Namibia, and the US are doing.
Maynilad called this recycled water “new water”, the country’s first water and wastewater service provider to implement potable water reuse.
Manila Standard reports that the water utility provider uses technology from Israel to purify its wastewater. The new modular treatment plants (ModTP) comprise a multi-stage process that includes pressurized media filtration, ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, and chlorine disinfection to convert used water to drinking water.
Water will come from sewage treatment plants (STP) in Parañaque City, a neighboring city 20 kilometers south of Manila. The “new water” from the modular treatment plant (ModTP), which can yield 10 million liters per day, will be fed into the distribution system, blending with the standard drinking water and flowing through residents’ taps for consumption.
Philstar reports that in November 2022, Maynilad announced the start of its recycled water distribution in Parañaque City’s two barangays after receiving a conditional permit from the country’s Department of Health (DOH) in October 2022. The temporary license will be valid for a year before it will be converted into a permanent one once the company consistently meets all the requirements set by the department.
The company taps water from Laguna Lake as one of its water sources, and the other comes from the Angat Dam, which can only provide a limited water supply. The lake water also undergoes water treatment using a similar sewage treatment method for initial purification before it passes through a more stringent water treatment process to convert it into drinkable water.
A more reliable resource
“Water is a scarce resource. Given the growing population’s increasing demand for water plus the strain on existing sources due to climate change, we should consider using previously untapped sources—including used water—to augment supply. There are now reliable and effective treatment technologies that make it a viable option,” said Maynilad president and CEO Ramoncito Fernandez (Campos & Araja, 2022).
Maynilad quality, sustainability, and resiliency head Roel Espiritu agrees and said that the treated used water discharged by STPs is a more reliable source than raw river water because it is climate independent. The quality is also controlled and less variable.
“If we use the rivers directly as a source, trash and other pollutants thrown into it by surrounding communities could drastically change the river water’s quality. This could affect the volume output of a ModTP, which has to adjust its treatment parameters with sudden shifts in the raw water quality,” he explained (Campos & Araja, 2022).
Water scarcity is a growing problem in the Philippines due to its rapid population growth. Due to climate change, drought conditions and prolonged droughts will worsen the problem.
The country’s first-ever direct potable water recycling infrastructure can augment the country’s water supply and resilience by providing a climate-independent, reliable, and safe source of drinking water year-round.
Rivera, D. (2022 November 15). Maynilad starts distribution of ‘new water’ in Parañaque. Philstar. Retrieved from https://www.philstar.com/nation/2022/11/15/2223848/maynilad-starts-distribution-new-water-paraaque
Campos, O. & Araja, R. (2022, June 23). Maynilad eyes recycled water to meet growing demand. Manila Standard. Retrieved from https://manilastandard.net/news/national/314238550/maynilad-eyes-recycled-water-to-meet-growing-demand.html
Mayuga, J. (2022, July 3). ‘New water’: a safe, sustainable option? Business Mirror. Retrieved from https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/07/03/new-water-a-safe-sustainable-option/
Maynilad starts piped-in distribution of “New Water” in Parañaque. (2022, November 14). Maynilad. Retrieved from https://www.mayniladwater.com.ph/maynilad-starts-piped-in-distribution-of-new-water-in-paranaque/