Water supply tested regularly – MIWD

(DG file)

By: Gerome Dalipe

The Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) yesterday assured its concessionaires that the water supply they are using is of top quality.

Amarylis J. C. Castro, MIWD OIC, General Manager, said that they are regularly monitoring the quality of water from their bulk water suppliers.

“We do standard protocols and regular testing of the water quality in compliance with the Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water (PNSDW)” Castro said.

Castro was reacting to the Commission on Audit (COA) report, which stated that MIWD’s concessionaires may be at risk.

The auditors said the MIWD has yet to finish its water safety plan, which aims to address the threats to water safety that may be brought about by climate change, human activities and natural and man-made calamities.

In the interview, Castro said the safety plan is yet to be completed since they are waiting for water safety inputs from its new joint venture partner for distribution, the Metro Pacific Iloilo Water, Inc. (MIW).

But while waiting for the development of combined safety plan, Castro said they have identified solutions to keep the quality of water by following the protocols of the PNSDW.

These include bacteriological, physical and chemical tests, and regular chlorination and additional chlorination, if needed, monitoring of chlorine residuals and regular flushing, among others.

The tests are conducted on a regular basis to ensure that the water quality is in conformity with PNSDW. In fact its testing protocol is 180% above the minimum requirement, Castro said.

Pursuant to the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Memorandum Circular 010-14 dated Dec. 1, 2014, the Department of Health mandates all water-service providers to develop a water safety plan.

This means that the water providers should adopt the 11-step process set by the World Health Organization in developing their water safety plan.

MIWD and its bulk water supply partner, the Metro Iloilo Bulk Water Supply Corporation (MIBWSC) agreed to develop the safety water plan.

But MIWD informed the auditors last June 17, 2019, that the safety plan is still on development stage for the reason that is needs the input of its distribution partner MIW to be incorporated in the plan. In essence, the plan should cover safety plan from point source to tap.

MIW commencement was only in July 1, 2019. It has already formulated the risk assessment and control measures on operational monitoring and the corrective actions to address the immediate response to ensure safe and quality water to conform within the PNSDW and be able to respond to water system challenges promptly.

In the report, auditors said the water safety plan is considered as a cost-effective, management-oriented, a preventive approach to drinking-water safety. It is also one of key recommendation in the WHO Guidelines for drinking-water quality, effective, management oriented, and preventive approach to drinking-water safety.

Thus, water safety plan can address such a gap by ensuring that notification will come on time while addressing the risks by appropriate control measures.

“Water safety plan objectives are to prevent or minimize contamination of water source, remove contamination through treatment and prevent re-contamination during storage, distribution, and handling of water,” the auditors said.

While MIWD’s water quality passed the bacteriological, physical and chemical examinations and no significant contamination of water supply and the outbreak of waterborne diseases were reported in its coverage area, the absence of a safe water plan would make concessionaires at risk.

In the report, the auditors also recommended to MIWD to ensure consistent safety of water to its concessionaires. The public utility firm was also urged to complete the development of its water safety plan pursuant to the guidelines set by the LWUA to improve the management of water safety.

The compensatory measures being implemented by MIWD as mentioned above secure the safety of the public while waiting for the plan, Castro said.