Manila Water has started to incorporate climate-proofing in its existing and future water and wastewater assets in response to climate change. An example of these facilities is the Olandes Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) designed to adapt to flood inundation by the Marikina River. The main process tanks were built underground while the support facility containing electromechanical equipment was constructed literally on stilts. Constructing the tanks underground allowed the use of the above-ground space as a public riverside park.
Portions of the Marikina service area of Manila Water
Local Government Unit (LGU) of Marikina City, World Bank
Sustain the operations of water and wastewater facilities during natural calamities
Historic flood levels were considered in the design and additional factors of safety were incorporated.
During the Ondoy floods in 2009, the Marikina River inundated the recently completed Olandes STP but the electromechanical equipment on stilts was spared. The facility resumed operations after minor cleaning. Manila Water received an Honor Award for Project Innovation from the International Water Association in 2010 in recognition of this accomplishment.
The Olandes STP was a component of the Manila Third Sewerage Project (MTSP), which was funded by a loan from the World Bank.
Retrofitting for climate-proofing is being integrated into existing facilities and Manila Water’s Standards Department is continuously developing new asset standards to mainstream climate proofing in the design of future facilities.
It is an imperative to climate-proof facilities to ensure sustainability of the business, especially for a lifeline like water and sanitation. Vulnerability studies on water and wastewater assets can be best done only when there are reliable data sets associated with climate change scenarios.
Manila Water is active in the management of watersheds that affect its operations. Ipo and La Mesa Watersheds remain the source of 97% of raw water needed by Metro Manila. The Marikina Watershed was the source of the muddy floodwaters that inundated several of Manila Water’s facilities in the Marikina floodplain.
In 1999, the “Save the La Mesa Watershed” project of ABSCBN Foundation’s Bantay Kalikasan (BK) was launched for the watershed’s reforestation and protection, sustained by funding from the two concessionaires (Manila Water and Maynilad). The “Adopta- Watershed” program in Ipo, begun in 2006, engaged volunteer organizations in reforestation. To speed up rehabilitation efforts, BK was engaged by the Manila Water and Sewerage Services (MWSS) and the two concessionaires to plant 110 hectares in 2010 and 450 hectares in 2011. The reforestation target for 2012 onwards is 900 hectares per year.
Manila Water was one of the irst companies to respond to the call for involvement in the rehabilitation of the Marikina Watershed after Typhoon Ondoy. As a pioneer member of the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF), a non-government organization created to help with the recovery efforts after the major typhoons of 2009, Manila Water has committed to the reforestation of 500 hectares in the upper Marikina watershed which is due for completion in 2012.
Ipo Watershed, La Mesa Watershed and Marikina Watershed
MWSS, DENR, LGUs, Maynilad, Bantay Kalikasan, Dumagat community, Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation, Fostering People’s Education, Empowerment and Enterprise (FPE3) and volunteer organizations
Ensure the reliability and quality of raw water from the raw water sources and mitigate flood damage due to degraded forests
Reforestation, maintenance and protection of the watersheds were done by engaging the local community and volunteers. The Dumagats, the indigenous people living in the Ipo Watershed, serve as the watershed’s stewards. Only native trees are used for reforestation.
The reforestation efforts in La Mesa has brought back the forest cover of 1,552 hectares planted in 11 years while over 2,000 illegal settlers were relocated. Through the “Adopt-a-Watershed” program in Ipo, about 128 hectares were planted. An additional 560 hectares were reforested in BK’s first two years of operations in Ipo. The tree nurturing project in Marikina Watershed has reforested 420 hectares in Barangays Calawis and San Jose, Antipolo as of 2011.
MWSS Concessionaires (Manila Water and Maynilad)
Aside from continuous reforestation and protection, capacity-building and sustainable alternative livelihood in the watershed communities will be implemented. By 2012, the Comprehensive Watershed Management Plans for both La Mesa and Ipo will be completed. Through a MOA with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Manila Water also spearheaded the preparation of a Comprehensive Marikina Watershed Management Plan that is due for approval in Jan 2012. The plan was developed through science-based, holistic and participatory approach. Climate change adaptability was considered in developing the plan and a Stakeholder-based Disaster Management and Emergency Preparedness Plan was incorporated.
Each watershed is unique with its own issues. It needs a comprehensive study that takes into account the environmental, economic, and social aspects. The participatory process is crucial in raising and renewing people’s interest in watershed management. A major challenge in managing watersheds is having the presence of a strong and consistent leadership.
To ensure continuity of business operations, Manila Water has organized Incident Management Teams to ensure quick response in case of emergency. Geographic “quadrants” in Manila’s East Zone were established based on a disaster impact reduction study, which assumes key lifelines of the city to be unavailable. Each quadrant has its own complete contingency resources, incorporating the specific locations and capabilities of each Manila Water manager to respond to any given situation. Unannounced company-wide drills that also involve other government support services are undertaken every year.
Metro Manila East Zone
Metro Manila Development Authority, LGUs, National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, and other agencies
Ensure reliability of water and wastewater services during disasters, such as, typhoons, floods and earthquakes and strengthen the company’s capacity for mitigation, preparedness, and response
Identification of key threats and business impacts in order to strategize controls and processes needed to address them. These are written into plans and communicated across the organization.
Manila Water was put to the test in the wake of Typhoon Ondoy in late 2009 when 65,000 water service connections were lost, and many employees were victims themselves. Only 30% of the workforce was able to go to work but normal operations were restored in a week’s time. Manila Water is also called occasionally by the national government to provide emergency water services in disaster-stricken areas around the country.
Internal funds of the company
Each exercise and business continuity plan is developed in such a way that new improvements are met in preparing for key threats. New technologies and methods are introduced for the improvement of the business continuity strategies.
Each business continuity plan is different, incorporating specific strengths and restraints. Commitment of employees plays a major role in implementing business continuity plans.
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