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The Experience and Challenges of the Manila Water Supply and Sanitation Public-Private Partnerships

December 15, 2022 @ 9:00 am - 10:30 am

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The 1818 Society Urban and Water Thematic Group (TG) invites you to its last “Talk Shop” of 2022.

Speaker: Mr. Virgilio (Perry) Rivera

Moderator:  Vijay Jagannathan, former manager of the World Bank water practices in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and East Asia Pacific (EAP) regions.


In 1997, the Government of the Philippines awarded after international competition two 25-year “Concessions” of the water supply and sanitation (WSS) service in the Metro-Manila area (2022 total population: about 18 million). In 2009, the Government extended the expiration dates of the Concessions by 15 years to 2037 and that of the franchises of the Concessionaires to 2047. These Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are considered a real success if the performance of the WSS service is measured against access, reliability, efficiency, financial sustainability, environmental sustainability, and affordability criteria. The presentation will focus on lessons learned from the last 25 years and upcoming challenges including how to:

  • Ensure that additional water sources developed by the Government are made available in a timely manner to the Concessionaires.
  • Provide sanitation services through a combination of sewers/wastewater treatment plants and septic tanks desludging/septage treatment facilities to comply with environmental standards, including nutrient removal.
  • Mitigate the foreign exchange risk associated with long-term debt (often) denominated in foreign exchange and revenues (always) generated in local currency.
  • Guarantee that the Regulatory mechanism put in place to monitor the performance of the Concessionaires and periodically reset user charges operates in an independent, transparent, and predictable manner; and
  • Ensure that all stakeholders, including central and local governments, Concessionaires, financiers, and all categories of customers, including low-income households living in informal settlements, remain reasonably happy.

Mr. Perry Rivera has been associated with the Metro-Manila WSS PPP since 1997 when he was seconded to the Manila Water Company Inc. (MWCI), one of the two Concessionaires, by the Ayala Corporation, the Philippines’ largest conglomerate, where he was Managing Director. At MWCI, he was until 2021 Chief Operating Officer for New Business, Subsidiary Operations, and Business Development, including international operations. MWCI has now extended its operations outside of the Metro-Manila area to other cities in the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia to serve an additional 10 million people. Mr. Rivera’s expertise includes WSS utility management, design and implementation of large PPP schemes, corporate strategy, public policy, regulation, and tariff renegotiations.

Mr. Rivera was an Independent Director of the Toilet Board Coalition (TBC), a Founding Member of The Academy of Regulatory Professionals, and an Adjunct Professor at the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland (Australia). He is a Board Member and Fellow (first Filipino) of the International Water Association (IWA) and a member of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) and its advisory council on Mutual Accountability Programs. In 2021, he established “WatSan Analytics”, a management consulting firm focused on water supply and sanitation. Mr. Rivera is currently a consultant to the World Bank. His book Tap Secrets: The Manila Water Story – An Exercise in Successful Utility Reform in the Urban Water Sector, was published by the Asian Development Bank in 2014. He is a co-author of a World Bank report titled Strengthening Philippine Water Supply and Sanitation (to be published shortly).

Mr. Rivera earned two undergraduate degrees in Economics and Behavioral Science at the University of Santo Tomas (Philippines) and completed his graduate-level coursework in M.S. Economics at De La Salle University (Philippines). In 2011, he completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.

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December 15, 2022
9:00 am - 10:30 am


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