Early Beginnings

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 municipalities.

The 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 P 1,200,000 and a total project cost of P 1,772,000.

Administered and controlled by the Provincial Government of Iloilo, the waterworks system consisted of structural facilities such as the dam, the sedimentation basin, and the reservoir.  It had a transmission line, 18 inches in diameter, from the dam to the reservoir with a carrying capacity of 3,000,000 gallons per day.  The initial water service connections totaled less than a thousand.

Administration of the IMWW was done by the Provincial Government of Iloilo for 27 years.

The 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.

Also, in the same year, the administration of the IMWW was transferred from the Province of Iloilo to the NAWASA whose administration lasted until 1970.

During the NAWASA administration, two infiltration galleries were constructed, one in 1963 and the other in 1969, with the total cost of P 844,930 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 fifteen-year old management of NAWASA ended when Republic Act 6234 was approved creating the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and abolishing the NAWASA.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS)

Republic Act 6234 created the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and abolished the NAWASA in 1970. MWSS administered the operation from 1971 to1978.

However, like its predecessor, it had not undertaken any major improvement that would meet the development of Iloilo City and its burgeoning population.  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.

On May 23, 1973, Presidential Decree No. 198 was promulgated which 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 assistance.

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. Subsequently on January 12, 1979, LWUA issued MIWD Certificate of Conditional Conformance (CCC) No. 071. After more than a decade as a quasi-public corporation, MIWD became a government-owned and controlled corporation by virtue of en banc Supreme Court decision declaring all water districts all over the Philippines as GOCCs.

The 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 I-A Immediate Improvement Project was completed with the construction of four deep well 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 town to Molo plaza going to Arevalo plaza and down to Timawa-Delgado and Valeria streets in downtown Iloilo.

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 I-B improvement project with a total cost of P29 million.

Three (3) additional wells in Oton, Iloilo, including the pumping stations were completed in April 1993 under Phase IC-3 improvement program.  These three wells have a combined production of 90 liters per second (lps) and were connected to the existing distribution network which became fully operational in the last part of 1993.

In the latter part of 2000, MIWD started the operation of its water treatment plant, with a supply capacity of 37,000 cubic meters of water per day, one of the components of the Phase IC-1 and IC-2 projects.  Financed by the Asian Development Bank under a two-billion loan package for eight (8) water districts in the Philippines, the project also consisted, among others, the installation of 27-kilometer transmission line from the dam in Maasin to the reservoir in Santa Barbara to Iloilo City; the improvement of 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 150 mm to 200 mm 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 connections.

With the completion of the water treatment plant, water supply in Iloilo now undergoes a complete treatment for surface water sources.  The system is expected to meet, too, the 633 liters per second projected demand of the District for the succeeding years.

In addition, MIWD has installed transmission lines at San Isidro Relocation Site, San Isidro, Jaro, Iloilo City that cater to the water supply needs of around 2,000 families affected by the Iloilo Flood Control Project. This was made possible through a grant extended by the Local Water Utilities Administration to the Iloilo City local government.

At present, MIWD serves a population of more than 192,000 with a total of 38,437 (as of December 31, 2017) active service connections, all of which are metered.  It has installed 32 fire hydrants strategically located all over the service area.  Its present surface water source comes from the dam in Maasin and its bulk water suppliers which sourced its water from the Jalaur River, while its ground water supply is being generated by the 14 wells in San Miguel, Pavia, Cabatuan and Oton.  On the other hand, the existing transmission and distribution mains consist of a total of 411-kilometer long steel, cast iron and PVC pipes with diameters ranging from 50-600 mm.  Its service area covers the whole city of Iloilo, Oton, San Miguel, Pavia, Santa Barbara, Cabatuan, Maasin and Leganes.  It has also extended its services to a total of 151 subdivisions, located here in the city and in the neighboring municipalities.

The Water District has also completed the improvement and expansion of its water supply through the Small Towns Water Supply Sector Program, a project jointly financed by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The project is geared towards the improvement of the existing water supply system of MIWD covering the municipalities of Maasin, Cabatuan, Santa Barbara, Pavia, Oton, San Miguel and the City of Iloilo encompassing the five districts and the City proper, and the expansion of the system to the municipality of Leganes.  The system has undergone whole scale improvement through the rehabilitation of existing water supply facilities to ensure that consumers can enjoy a more effective and sufficient water service.

Financed at a total project cost of P207,603,000.00, its major components included the rehabilitation of wells, provision of electro-mechanical equipment, refurbishment of pumping stations, construction of treatment facilities, laying out of transmission and distribution mains, rehabilitation of existing distribution pipelines and installation of service connections.

It also aims to reduce non-revenue water as well as the operation and maintenance costs of the District, and improve the quality of water supply, particularly for Maasin, Cabatuan and Oton, at the same time, improve the level of service by providing adequate system pressure.

Special projects involving extension of water supply services in far-flung barangays and subdivisions within MIWD service areas, installation of additional fire hydrants and rehabilitation of dilapidated pipelines were also completed and undertaken in pursuit of the Water District’s mission of providing quality, sufficient and affordable water supply.

To meet the growing water demand, MIWD embarked on bulk water supply projects in 2013. These provide a total additional supply of 25,000 cubic meters per day (cmd) of potable water wherein 15,000 cubic meters per day is being supplied by Flowater Resources (Iloilo), Inc. at Injection Point No. 3 in Leganes and 10,000 cubic meters per day is supplied by Iloilo Primewater Ventures Corporation at Injection Point No. 2 in Barangay Tacas, Jaro, Iloilo City.

MIWD also completed the installation of 250 mm diameter pipeline from Barangay Tacas, Jaro to San Isidro Relocation Site in Jaro to accommodate more service connections in the area.

Another project undertaken is the installation of transmission pipeline from Leganes (Injection Point No. 3) to Ungka, Pavia. This has a total project cost of Php 51,365,902.60 using 400 mm diameter Cement-Lined Cement-Coated (CLCC) steel pipes at a total length of about 8,500,00 linear meters traversing Iloilo Radial Road passing through Iloilo River Plains Subdivision (Lanit Relocation Site), through Iloilo Circumferential Road.

MIWD is also pursuing programs to lower the non-revenue water (NRW) which greatly affects the supply in its areas of coverage. With the creation of the NRW Leak Detection and Management Division, massive leak monitoring and repair works are being undertaken. District Metering Zones are being implemented in priority areas which resulted to significant volume recovery.

The search for efficiency, however, does not end with the completion of all these projects.  Still, MIWD is constantly exploring other options and solutions to provide water security to its constituents.

The Joint Venture

On May 5, 2016, MIWD entered into a joint venture (JV) project with MetroPac Water Investments Corporation (MPW) for bulk water supply under the 2013 NEDA Revised Joint Venture Guidelines. The project involves the supply and delivery of 170 million liters per day (MLD) of treated water and the rehabilitation, operation, maintenance, and expansion of the production facilities of MIWD for the next 25 years.  MIWD and MPW incorporated the Metro Iloilo Bulk Water Supply Corporation (“MIBWSC”), the joint venture company which will undertake the joint venture activities in accordance with the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA).  Following the formation of MIBWSC, the Production Department of MIWD was dissolved and its employees were absorbed by MIBWSC.

As ever, MIWD strives to serve its consumers in the best way it can. Cognizant of its basic responsibility of supplying potable and adequate water to all its consumers, it continues to tap all possible options in order to live up to the expectations of the public and the realization of its mandate.