Understanding Household Demand for Water: The Metro Manila Case
Cristina C. David
Arlene B. Inocencio
Widespread water shortages in Metro Manila have made the urban water problem a central policy issue. President Ramos recently called a "Water Summit Meeting" and directed all concerned agencies to develop a short- and medium-term strategy for addressing the impending water crisis. In Congress, the Water Crisis Act was passed which empowered the President to contract new water supply projects expeditiously, bypassing the normal bidding procedures. About $7 million is being spent to develop an action program to privatize the Metro Manila Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS). And with the widespread perception of gross inefficiency and graft and corruption of the MWSS, its administrator and some of its Board members have been replaced by credible professionals from outside the agency. Comparison with the public waterworks system in other ASEAN countries indeed show the weak performance of the MWSS (Table 1). Only 69% of the MWSS service area is covered by piped water connection, compared to 79% in the public waterworks in Bangkok and 100% in those of Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. In terms of number of house connections per capita, the gap between Manila on the one hand and Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore on the other hand is even much wider.
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