ILOILO WATER DISTRICT
a fast growing city and its neighbors
By Wenceslao E.
THE Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) has
been serving the potable water needs of Iloilo
City and several neighboring Iloilo
municipalities for quite a time. Some 23 years
now, to be specific.
province of Iloilo in the present service area
of MIWD, just at the outskirts of the City of
Iloilo, are Oton, Maasin, Cabatuan, Santa Barbara
But MIWD's oozing presence is not stopping
there. Just lately, according to MIWD public
information officer Olive Ledesma, the government
controlled water utility has already extended its
service lines to Barangay San Jose in the
municipality of San Miguel.
As things are going, we can even say without
the least doubt that MIWD's services will still
be going beyond that leap in the near and far
The powers-that-be behind its helm envisions
MIWD to be "the premiere water utility
company in the region", necessarily both in
the quality of potable water provided and service
This vision takes form from its mission "to
promote better quality of life by providing
adequate, safe and potable water in the community",
As of October 31, 2000, MIWD is serving a
total of 16,070 active service connections, all
Overall, MIWD's present average monthly water
production is 730,327 cu.m., which is comfortably
higher than the average monthly consumption of
A JOB WELL DONE
That MIWD has been doing its job quite well may
be gleaned from a recent Candidates' Forum for
the city's mayorables.
Every candidate talked of problems with the
traffic, environment, urban poor housing and
squatters' resettlement. But nobody ever said the
city has any problem with potable water.
A TREATMENT PLANT FOR CRYSTAL CLEAR WATER
The "search for efficiency continues",
an MIWD press release said. But, MIWD already
deserves our special pat on its shoulder for that
great thing it has lately accomplished. After 23
years of its existence, it has finally come up
with something its consumers have long been
deprived of - a water treatment plant and system.
With this water purification project, the
water consumers are assured of ample supply of
crystal clear water all the time.
The pulsator-type treatment plant, the first
of its kind in the Visayas region, is situated at
the MIWD reservoir in Talanghauan, Santa Barbara.
It has the capacity to produce 37,000 cubic
meters (cu.m.) of purified water per day, or a
monthly average of 1,100,000 cu.m. This
production capacity is about twice the average
daily consumption in MIWD's area of coverage at
present, which is about 19,169.16 cu.m.
Works for the P600 million water treatment plant
started in September 1996. And was expected to be
finished in 1999 (or even earlier, another source
said). Winning bidder, and Contractor, for the
construction of the plant was the China
International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE).
The plant was not, however, completed until
August 2000, when also its operations started.
The delay was blamed on the very low contract
price, which affected the financial position of
the Contractor in pursuing to finish the project.
MIWD director Lorenzo Jamora observed that the
Contractor was caught by a series of drops in the
peso value, vis-a-vis the US dollar, in 1997 to
the next year, which made difficult the
acquisition of many materials.
Supply delivery and installation of water
treatment facilities and equipment, on the other
hand, was contracted with Degremont, a French
The project was financed to its full P600 million
cost by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the
Philippine Government under a P2 billion loan
package for 8 water districts in the Philippines.
The water purification project was part of the
Phase 1-C project of MIWD, which also consists of
several other installations and construction
Like the installation of a 27-kilometer
transmission line from the Maasin Dam to the
reservoir in Santa Barbara to Iloilo City. The
improvement of intake structure and apron of the
Maasin Dam. The installation of 7.5 kilometers of
15mm in diameter of new distribution pipelines.
And the construction of mini filter plants for
Maasin and Cabatuan.
The interconnections of the new pipelines to
the existing lines have already been completed.
With this water treatment plant, MIWD General
Manager Le Jayme Jalbuena is assuring the
consumers of the District that their water supply
will undergo a complete treatment for surface
With the completion of the whole project, the
system will be able to meet the 633 liters per
second projected demand of the District for year
2000 and the next.
Jalbuena has also announced the transfer of
the MIWD laboratory to Talanghauan, Santa Barbara.
Acceptance and analysis of water samples are now
being done at the treatment plant.
JALBUENA, THE NEW GM
The present MIWD General Manager, Engr. Le
Jayme Jalbuena, assumed office only on September
He is married to the former Dr. Rosario Zenia
Lira, a dentist.
Jalbuena replaced former GM Moises Molen Jr., who
retired from the service on September 23, 1999.
The Board of Directors, however, extended his
term for another year due to the District's Phase
1-C water supply improvement project. When Molen
finally bidded adieu, he had behind him 20 years
of dedicated service to MIWD.
A native of Lapaz, Iloilo City, Jalbuena is a
geodetic engineer by profession. He finished the
course at the University of the Philippines,
Diliman. He pursued further studies on Watershed
Development and Management at the University of
Arizona, U.S.A., as well as on Biomass Production
at Florestal Acesita sa Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Jalbuena had been department head at the defunct
Farm Systems Development Corporation.
EVOLUTION OF MIWD
The year 1926 saw the birth of the waterworks
system in Iloilo. September 16 of that year,
Commonwealth Act. No. 3222 was approved
authorizing the Provincial Government of Iloilo
and selected municipalities, to be covered by the
proposed service area of a waterworks system, to
provide funds through the issuance of bonds of
the Insular Government to be guaranteed by the
province and the municipalities.
Iloilo Metropolitan Waterworks (IMWW)
The system, then named Iloilo Metropolitan
Waterworks (IMWW) was constructed in 1926 and
completed in 1928 with a total bonded
indebtedness of P1,200,000 and a total project
cost of P1,277,000.
Administered and controlled by the Provincial
Government of Iloilo, the waterworks system
consisted of structural facilities to include a
dam, sedimentation basin, and a reservoir. It had
a transmission line, 18 inches in diameter, from
the dam to the reservoir with a carrying capacity
of three million gallons per day. The initial
water service connections totaled less than a
The IMWW was administered by the Provincial
Government of Iloilo for 27 years.
National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA)
In 1955, however, Republic Act No. 1383 was
approved creating the National Waterworks and
Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) with the objective of
consolidating and centralizing the operation of
all waterworks systems throughout the country
under one control, direction, and general
supervision. It was a public corporation existing
as an independent agency.
That same year, the administration of the IMWW
was also transferred from the Province of Iloilo
to the NAWASA whose administration lasted until
During the NAWASA administration, two
infiltration galleries were constructed, one in
1963 and the other in 1969, with the total cost
of P844, 930 financed out of the savings of the
Iloilo Metropolitan Waterworks.
The two infiltration galleries provided
additional water supply of 2,000,500 gallons per
day, thus improving the service for the
succeeding five years.
Thereafter, the service became insufficient to
match population growth and development of the
City of Iloilo.
The 15-year old management of NAWASA ended
when Republic Act 6234 was approved creating the
Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS)
and abolishing the NAWASA.
Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS)
The MWSS administered the operation of the NAWASA
from 1971 to 1978. However, like its predecessor,
it had not undertaken any major improvement that
would meet the development of the City and its
There still was a need to make the water
system more responsive to the growing demands of
its growing communities.
Somehow, the management had to be improved and
the water utility had to be weaned from local
political control and influence.
Based on the findings of the 1969-1972 study of
the water supply system, the old government-controlled
water utility was found to be mismanaged. It
oftentimes became a dumping ground for "political
lameducks", and the water it supplied was
far from safe.
All the problems that saddled the water system,
however, finally found their solutions in the
promulgation of Presidential Decree 198 on May 23,
P.D. 198 authorized the formation of
autonomous water districts and the creation of
the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA),
a government corporation aimed at providing water
districts financial, technical and skill-training
On September 18, 1978, there was a
simultaneous turn-over of the water system from
the MWSS to the City Government pursuant to P.D.
1405 and from the City Government to the Metro
Iloilo Water District (MIWD) in accordance with
the provisions of P.D. 198.
Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD)
The year 1978 may be considered as the turning
point for the water system in Iloilo.
With assistance from LWUA, MIWD was able to
undergo institutional development in all systems
of operation. Improvement projects were
undertaken to meet rising water demands of the
consuming public of Iloilo.
In 1986, the Phase 1-A Immediate Improvement
Project was completed with the construction of
four deepwell pump stations with a combined
production of 115 liters per second (lps). A
central chlorine station was installed adjacent
to the 568-cubic meter elevated steel tank for
the four wells. It also included the installation
of 20 kilometers of pipeline from Mandurriao
District to Molo Plaza going to Arevalo Plaza and
down to Timawa-Delgado and Valeria Streets in
In 1994, the 76-kilometer pipe-laying was
completed with the installation of 22-kilometer
PVC pipes and 54-kilometer cement-coated concrete
steel pipes under Phase 1-B improvement project
with a total cost of P29 million.
Three additional wells in Oton, Iloilo,
including the pumping stations were completed in
April 1993 under Phase 1C-3 improvement program.
These three wells have a combined production of
90 liters per second and were connected to the
existing distribution network which became fully
operational in the last part of 1993.
In 1998, MIWD served a total of 16,000 active
service connections; all of which were metered.
By then, it had installed 45 gate valves and 20
The surface water source until today comes
from the dam in Maasin while its ground water
supply is being generated by the infiltration
galleries in Talanghauan, Santa Barbara and Ungka,
Pavia and the 7 wells in San Miguel and Oton.
On the other hand, the existing transmission
mains consisted of a total of 54.85-kilometer
long CCI, steel and PVC pipes with diameters
ranging from 200-600mm. The distribution lines
totalled 170.53 kilometers with diameters ranging
from 50-600mm, also of the same materials.
In the latter part of 1997, MIWD started the
implementation of its P209 million Phase IC-1 and
2 projects. This was financed by the Asian
Development Bank under a two (2)-billion loan
package for 8 water districts in the Philippines.
It consisted, among others, of the
construction of a state-of-the-art pulsator-type
water treatment plant with a capacity of 37,000
cubic meters per day; the installation of 27-kilometer
transmission line from the dam in Maasin to the
reservoir in Santa Barbara to Iloilo City; the
improvement of the Maasin intake structure and
dam apron; the provision of a cover to the
existing reservoir in Santa Barbara; the
construction of a booster pump station; the
installation of 7.5 kilometers of 150mm to 200mm
in diameter of new distribution pipelines; the
construction of pumping stations with standby
power and chlorine facilities; the installation
of valves and other appurtenances; and, the
installation of approximately 10,294 new service
China International Water and Electric
Corporation, a Chinese contractor that won in the
bidding, was tasked to finish the project within
720 calendar days.
With the completion of the water treatment
plant in August 2000, water supply from surface
water sources to Iloilo has since then been
undergoing a complete treatment.
The completion of the whole project has also
enabled the system to meet the 633 liters per
second projected demand of the District for the
year 2000 to the next.
(ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: The author is greatly
indebted, for practically all vital data and
information in this report, to MIWD, particularly
to GM Engr. Jalbuena, ASST GM for Operations Engr.
Villasis, and PIO Olive Ledesma. All pictures
accompanying this report are also courtesy of
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