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MWA clean water clinic คลินิกน้ำสะอาด
1. Who is MWA? Public Waterworks in Bangkok ?
The Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) is a state enterprise under the Ministry of Interior in charged in management and service providing of water supply in Bangkok and neighboring provinces in Thailand.

MWA's water supply at presently (2011), almost 100% of Bangkok's population receives reliable, safe tap water through the state-run utility.

Population-For Bangkok, data refers to its registered population. An estimate of the population including nonregistered population in Bangkok is 8.96 million. The total registered population of Bangkok, Nonthaburi, and Samut Prakan was 7.9 million.
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2. MWA Water Supply Coverage ?
For Bangkok, the number of connections in MWA's entire service area of Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan. It was estimated that there were 1.32 million connections in Bangkok itself.

From 1998 to 2008, the service area coverage by the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) increased from 35% to 70% of its area of responsibility comprising Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan. With a corresponding population coverage increasing from 6.4 million to 7.8 million, MWA increased its population coverage of its area of responsibility to 99%.
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3. MWA committed to public service ?
In Bangkok, MWA enjoys considerable autonomy and is operated and managed like a business entity committed to public service. It has adopted transparent management, taken measures to increase work efficiency, and pays bonuses to employees.

As MWA covers three provinces and serves around 8 million people (based on the registered population), its responsibilities are complex. However, this is eased by the establishment of branch offices that are responsible for smaller areas.
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4. MWA: Best Practice on Corporate Governance Award since 2000 ?
Thanks to various measures, MWA has received several corporate governance awards from the Ministry of Finance, including the Best Practice on Corporate Governance Award (Transparency Management) since 2000. The award was bestowed on MWA in recognition of its transparent management practices, which were set up under its framework for good corporate governance.

One of the main features of transparency in MWA is its internal control system, which helps ensure that MWA personnel, units, and offices perform in accordance with regulations, operational evaluations, and financial and accounting audits. This system is implemented through an audit committee at the board of directors level, which has more freedom to cooperate with the internal auditors and certified public auditors.

Through this and other policies and procedures, MWA has been able to minimize, if not eradicate, corruption in the utility.
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5. Public Opposition to Privatization of Water Services in Bangkok ?
Following the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis, progress was made in privatizing the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) in Bangkok, including studies on how to go forward with the privatization and what kind of privatization arrangement would be implemented.

However, these plans suffered a serious setback in early 2004 when thousands of striking workers protested the government's privatization policy. The privatization of MWA has been stalled since then, and MWA remains a state-owned enterprise, although the private sector has played an increasingly significant role in assisting MWA to implement its projects and to deliver its services.

At present, private sector participation in MWA is mainly limited to activities in which private companies are not involved in investments, such as outsourcing activities like meter reading, new service connections and water loss reduction projects.
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6. MWA provides tap water from surface water ?
In the recent past, the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) relied heavily on groundwater to supplement surface water sources.

This led to a number of negative impacts, such as groundwater depletion, land subsidence, water quality deterioration, and saline water intrusion in aquifers.

In response to these problems, MWA curtailed its use of groundwater starting in 2005. Despite the fact that providing tap water from surface water tends to be more costly than providing it from groundwater, it did so without substantial effects on its operations and finances. This was achieved by gradually increasing the capacity of water treatment plants using river water, along with a gradual reduction in groundwater withdrawal.

At present, groundwater levels have recovered in many areas (although not up to the levels in late 1980s), resulting in a reduction in the rate of land subsidence. Nevertheless, MWA is still relying too heavily on a supply-oriented approach, and a stronger emphasis on demand management practices is required.
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7. Improving Service to the Poor ?
In Bangkok, regulations state that in order for the urban poor to be served with piped water, at least 30 households must associate and apply for a connection represented by five individuals.

MWA provides financial support from its own funds, amounting to B15,000 ($461), to cover new connection fees (including pipe materials and meters), with the balance being borne by the consumers and/or petitioners, who also have to pay a deposit for the meter size, i.e., B400 ($12) per house.
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8. MWA Water Quality Monitoring and Reporting ?
In Bangkok and its suburbs, MWA conducts real-time monitoring of water quality at 20 locations.

Water quality analyses are continuously made at every stage, starting at the purification water treatment plants until the final stage at the customer's premises.

MWA strictly follows World Health Organization standards, both on the number of samples required and the concentration limit for water quality parameters.

Results of the analysis in treatment plants and the distribution system are publicly available on the MWA website (www.mwa.co.th).
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9. MWA annual customer surveys ?
MWA also started conducting annual customer surveys in 2005. From 2008, the annual survey of customer satisfaction has been included as part of the MWA management strategy plan. The surveys allow MWA to better understand what it is doing well (e.g., new connection and payment services, pipe repairs, and maintenance) and what areas need improvement.

For instance, the survey revealed that only a very small percentage-less than 5%-of MWA consumers drink water directly from the tap, indicating to MWA that more attention needs to be given to water quality (particularly taste and smell) and drinking tap water campaigns.

To address this problem, MWA now conducts programs to inspect the quality of water at the taps of institutional establishments and houses, and assists them in implementing appropriate corrective measures to maintain the quality of water.

MWA has also established standards for its services, and these standards appear to be satisfactorily enforced.

Almost all of the complaints registered in 2006 and 2007 (facilitated through a 24-hour call center) were resolved within the duration set by MWA's standards (i.e., an average of 99.8% for 2 years).
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10. MWA: ISO certified ?
In addition, the quality of water treatment and monitoring measures of MWA are notable, as reflected in the certifications it received. Two of the four MWA water treatment plants are International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certified, its laboratories received ISO/IEC 1702533 certification since 2004, and several of its branch offices received ISO 17025 certification34 in 2001.

Another indication of MWA's commitment to transparency is the preparation and publication of its annual reports, which provide information on highlights of operations in the fiscal year, service performance, policies and work plans for the future, financial statements, and data and statistics.
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11. MWA: Revenue Collection ?
In Bangkok, for instance, the high collection efficiency rate and falling accounts receivable achieved by MWA is due to two concurrent strategies.

First, strict penalties are imposed for late payments, and second, there are now many different and convenient options for customers to pay their water bills (e.g., counter service at least 153 post offices, bank account deductions without charges to customers, and well as through the internet, by telephone, and by mobile phone).
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12. Is Tap Water in Bangkok Safe to Drink ?
Have you ever wondered if tap water in Bangkok is safe to drink? If it is, why do you see so many people drinking bottled water in Bangkok?

1. Since 1999, Mahidol University assured that MWA tap water quality fully meets the World Health Organization criterias and standards. This results in the official announcement of potable tap water in all service areas of MWA.
2. In blind taste tests, most people cannot tell the difference between chilled bottled water and chilled MWA tap water.
3. In the world, MWA is the first public waterworks utilities provided real time tap water quality information for consumers. Find out more about real time tap water quality in Bangkok.
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13. Sometimes Bangkok tap water can appear cloudy when you first fill a glass. ?
Don't worry. This is just excess air which disappears in a few minutes.
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14. Why Do Bangkok People Buy So Much Bottled Water ?
These would be liked as a 'fashion thing' - to be seen with a particular brand of water - but there is really no need. You may probably buy a bottled water, but you may refill the bottle from the tap at home and reuse it for ages.
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15. What is MWA Water Quality Standards ?
MWA tap water is supplied on the highest quality of treated water provided to their customers.

Strict standards for the quality of Drinking Water Quality Standards laid down in national regulations [Notification of the Ministry of Industry, No. 322, B.E. 2521 (1978), issued under the Industrial Products Standards Act B.E. 2511 (1968), published in the Royal Gazette, Vol. 95, Part 68, dated July 4, B.E. 2521 (1978)]

These standards are based on advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) and are regularly reviewed.

Water quality is closely checked and regulated by independent drinking water inspectorates in Thailand, Mahidol University and Public Health Ministry.

In Bangkok and its suburbs, MWA conducts real-time monitoring tap water quality at 20 locations. Water quality analyses are continuously, starting at the purification treatment plants until the final stage at the customer's premises.

MWA strictly follows World Health Organization standards, both on the number of samples required and the concentration limit for water quality parameters.

Results of the analysis in treatment plants and the distribution system are publicly available on the MWA website (www.mwa.co.th).

In addition, the quality of water treatment and monitoring measures of MWA are notable, as reflected in the certifications it received. Two of the four MWA water treatment plants are International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certified, its laboratories received ISO/IEC 17025 certification since 2004.
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16. Hardness in MWA public water supply ?
100% of MWA public water supply is treated from surface water sources and meet national water quality standards.

The surface water sources are considered to be low in minerals which can be considered moderately soft. The hardness is not an issue for MWA public water supply.

Hardness of drinking water under WHO 2008-recommendation must be less than 300 mg/l. whereas the hardness of MWA public water supply is in average of 70 mg/l during 2000-2010.
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17. How is the MWA public drinking water quality monitored ?
MWA public water quality in Bangkok and its suburbs is monitored under MWA real-time monitoring system. Water quality at 20 locations will be analyzed continuously, starting at the purification water treatment plants until the final stage at the customer's premises.

MWA strictly follows World Health Organization standards.

The real-time results of the analysis in treatment plants and the distribution system are publicly available on the MWA website
(http://wqconline.mwa.co.th/wqc).
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18. MWA is the first in the world provide real-time public drinking water quality
Under the transparency policy and public services of MWA, our MWA real-time monitoring system was established since 2001 as the aim in providing public information as "right of information".

We are the first in the world provide real-time public drinking water quality

The system has enabled MWA to monitor the tap water quality in the distribution system to assure the high quality of tap water. The system is designed to collect water quality data every 10 seconds. Parameters monitoring are -Free residual Chlorine (mg/l) -Turbidity (NTU)

The real-time results of the analysis in treatment plants and the distribution system are publicly available on the MWA website
(http://wqconline.mwa.co.th/wqc).
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19. May I know whether the tap water in Bangkok is safe to be consumed directly without boiling ?
The tap water in Bangkok has its quality benchmarked against World Health Organization (WHO) drinking water guidelines. Its water quality meets and sometimes even surpasses the requirements given by WHO. From this perspective, yes, tap water in Bangkok can be consumed directly.

As for boiling, it is most effective at killing microorganisms in the water. Boiling can prevent you from getting a case of food poisoning or diarrhea if the water is contaminated by pathogens. However, boiling is not good at removing chemical contaminants such as heavy metals, organic compounds or even chlorine if they are present in the water.
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20. I heard from salesman selling water filters that tap water contain chlorine which is not suitable to be boiled as it may produce trihalomethanes (THMs) which may cause cancer over long period of usage.
Yes, our tap water contains chlorine for its ability to prevent the growth of microorganisms in the water. But the concentration is still within the limits given under the WHO guidelines.

Yes, chlorine can form trihalomethanes (THM) under the right conditions. First, you will need organic compounds in the water to react with chlorine to form THM. Usually the organic matter content in our tap water is too insignificant to form any THM.

To be fair, the most well known member of THM, chloroform, is (only) a confirmed animal carcinogen with unknown relevance to humans. (Of course, I will rather not take my chances with ingesting chloroform.) The other members of THM are much less studied regarding their toxicity effects.

On the other hand, even disregarding THM, chlorine can be toxic in other ways - by itself or reacting with other chemical compounds. However, the chlorine in our tap water is definitely much lower (again according to WHO guidelines.
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21. If that is the case, does it mean that we need to buy water filters in order get rid of the chlorine before boiling the tap water for making hot beverages ?
Just like issues on food and medicine, water is surrounded by much controversy, especially on the health effects of its components, whether for good or bad. Chlorine in water is no exception. We can't say for certain that chlorine is completely harmless. This is complicated by the fact the health effects are usually only seen in the long term. Performing unbiased studies on human health for the long term (25, 50 years) will be difficult so no one can be sure what the long term effects are.

Then if you are worried and you can spare the budget (remember, filters are consumables and require constant changes), do go ahead and get yourself a good filter to reduce the chlorine content in tap water.
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22. May I know what are the impurities that are still present in the tap water and what are the suitable filter to address them ?
Despite its clear appearance, our tap water contains lots of impurities. (Try googling for "MWA tap water quality".) Water of high purity (Reverse Osmosis Technology) is normally used in microelectronics/wafer fabrication, medical applications, pharmaceutical manufacture. Actually, high purity water is considered "agressive" and may be bad for health.
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23. I saw many brand-name filters in the market, is it advisable to get it to remove the impurities present like chlorine ?
We believe that the many filters (get the high-end one) are very good to remove many contaminants in water - microorganisms, heavy metals, organic compounds, fluoride, and chlorine.

This is especially critical for disaster or emergency relief when you do not have a clean source of water.
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