ZCWD bares 2 water treatment plants project worth P1,3 billion PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 September 2013 13:36

The Zamboanga City Water District formally announced in yesterday’s City Council’s regular session its plan of establishing new water treatment facilities in the city’s two districts, a particular project which some councilors described a too ambitious as its cost is almost double than what the water agency actually owns.

No less than ZCWD General Manager Leonardo Rey Vasquez stood in the front line to explain to the councilors about an urgent need of pursuing the said project in anticipation of an increase in the number of water concessionaires starting year 2014.

“Our capacity of producing water is very much lacking your honor,” admitted Vasquez, who also explained that at present, his office is serving 56 barangays, covering over 527,000 water concessionaires.

Vasquez said once completed each of the two proposed water treatment plants will have a capacity of 50,000 cubic meters, “and the first plant’s initial target operation will have to start by first quarter of 2015, followed by the second plant which is a year later”.

However, Vasquez had to specifically, address the curiosity of apparently, surprised councilors as to the projects’ cost, which, he said, would approximately amount to P1.304-billion, at P625-million each, which is in contrast to the water district’s total asset of only P729-million.

Considering its huge amount, Vasquez cited two options that ZCWD is currently studying on for such projects to be implemented.

“First, is that the water district has to apply for loan for the needed amount from bank, and second, we are entertaining the idea of having a private company to do the project, on build-operate and transfer scheme (BOT).

“Under this scheme, the private company will construct the facilities, the water district will do the piping, they will sell water to us, and in turn, we will sell this water to our concessionaires,”Vasquez said, adding that that Prime Waters, a private entity, has already submitted to ZCWD a proposal, on how to go about the privatization of supplying water to Zamboanga City.

The general manager also mentioned two other private water suppliers, MAYNILAD and AMA Waters, to be also interested in the bidding, to serve ZCWD for a 30 to 40-year contract.

While assuring that employing the services of a private firm would not affect the city’s water rates, Vasquez said, “when our contract ends, ZCWD will take ownership of all the facilities that will be left behind by the private entity”.

Vasquez has made it clear however that even if ZCWD management would approve the private-public initiative, the board still has to evaluate and scrutinize such agreement, then ultimately, decide on it.

In the course of the deliberations, Vice Mayor Cesar Iturralde reiterated his earlier offer to help ZCWD locate potable water sites, a particular gesture, which was gladly accepted and appreciated by ZCWD Board chairman, Nelida Atilano.

After almost two hours of deliberations, District 2 Councilor Juan Climaco “Kim” Elago sponsored a resolution inviting Prime Waters, MAYNILAD, and AMA Waters, to appear in the next council session for them to discuss about their interest and intentions in investing in ZCWD as well as their investments’ impact on the city’s business side and those of the water consumers.

For his part, District 1 Councilor Cesar “Jawo” Jimenez moved to request the ZCWD to provide to the City Council, copies of investment proposals of the three mentioned private firms, especially Prime Waters, which Vasquez said, had already submitted to his office its complete feasibility study.

Jimenez also requested from the Commission on Audit (COA) to furnish the city council copies of all audited financial statements of water district covering the period 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively.

Also present to accompany Vasquez and Atilano, were other ZCWD board directors, assistant general managers, ranking officials and employees. — Philip Abuy