Cover Story


Is it the Solution to Iloilo's Water Woes

Jul 8, 2024, 7:02 AM
Cheryl Luis True

Cheryl Luis True


Iloilo City is on the brink of a transformative solution to its water supply challenges with the upcoming construction of a state-of-the-art desalination plant. This facility, capable of producing up to 65 million liters of potable water per day, promises to alleviate the strain on local water resources, driven by the city's burgeoning economic and population growth.

Desalination, the process of converting seawater into drinking water, primarily utilizes advanced technologies like seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO). This method effectively separates dissolved salts and minerals from water, ensuring the output meets stringent safety standards for human consumption. Regulatory bodies oversee the entire process to guarantee water quality and safety, assuring residents that desalinated water is a reliable alternative amid freshwater scarcity.

Benefits and Challenges

The benefits of desalination for Iloilo City are manifold. It provides a sustainable and drought-resistant water source, essential for sustaining industries like business process outsourcing and tourism. Moreover, the project is expected to benefit approximately 50,000 households, enhancing overall resilience against water shortages.

However, desalination also poses challenges. High energy consumption and associated costs are notable concerns. The energy-intensive nature of SWRO plants requires significant electricity, potentially impacting operational expenses and carbon footprints. Additionally, environmental considerations, such as brine disposal and marine ecosystem impacts, necessitate careful management to mitigate ecological effects.

Looking Ahead

As Iloilo prepares to embrace desalination, the collaboration between Metro Pacific Water (MPW) and Suez highlights a commitment to innovation and sustainability. MPW owns 80 percent of Metro Pacific Iloilo Water (MPIW), which distributes water in Iloilo City and the towns of Oton, Sta. Barbara, Cabatuan, Maasin, San Miguel, Pavia, and Leganes. The project underscores the importance of integrating renewable energy solutions to offset environmental impacts and ensure long-term viability.

The introduction of a large-scale desalination plant marks a pivotal moment for Iloilo City's water management strategy. It symbolizes a proactive approach to meeting growing water demands while safeguarding environmental integrity. As the project progresses, continued community engagement and technological advancements will be crucial in optimizing operations and maximizing benefits for residents and industries alike.

Desalination, when implemented responsibly, offers a promising pathway toward water security and resilience in the face of evolving environmental challenges.

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