Group urges Gov’t to limit water usage in pools, other businesses amid supply woes

Robie de Guzman   •   June 22, 2019   •   1321

Photo by Nelly Aran from Pexels

MANILA, Philippines – A labor group on Saturday (June 22) called on the national government to intervene in the worsening water supply issues in Metro Manila due to the rapidly dropping water level at Angat Dam.

The Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) suggested for the government to limit the usage of water-intensive facilities, such as swimming pools and other businesses until the water at Angat dam stabilizes.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) on Saturday reported that Angat Dam’s water level dropped to 159.78 meters.

“Because water is a basic requirement for the 13 million Metro Manila residents, it must be given priority over the profit margin of businesses,” the group said in a statement.

“To address the intermittent water supply required to households of Metro Manila, government must intercede to limit the water usage of water-intensive facilities and businesses such as golf courses, swimming pools and water fountains,” it added.

The group estimated there are about 15 golf courses in areas covered by both water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water, including publicly-owned Veterans and Camp Aguinaldo golf courses in Quezon City and the Army and Navy golf clubs in Fort Bonifacio.

There are also over 10,000 swimming pools all over the metropolis, including water parks, swimming resorts, club houses, indoor pools of condominiums and private pools in posh subdivisions.

“Why should the people stand in line for water rations on a daily basis when the elite consume so much water for their luxuries? Why are the poor again the first to sacrifice during a water crisis when they did not benefit when both Maynilad and Manila Water were brimming with profit,” said BMP leader Leody De Guzman in a statement.

The BMP also called for the suspension of building permits for new businesses which require huge amounts of water until Angat dam water level stabilizes.

The group also called on the government, particularly the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to study the deployment of more radical contingency measures to address the worsening water supply in Metro Manila as its public appeal for water conservation is not enough.

The BMP is also pushing for the reversal of the policy of water privatization that resulted into the concession of the operations of the Metropolitan Wateworks and Sewerage Systems (MWSS).

The group claims the privatization of Metro Manila’s water supply did not improve services and sustain the needs of Metro Manila residents.

Angat dam water level goes up but still below target – NWRB

Robie de Guzman   •   December 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The water level at the Angat dam continues to go up, according to the monitoring of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

As of 6 a.m. Tuesday (December 17), the Angat dam’s water level is at 197.22 meters, which is higher than the 196.67 meters recorded on Monday.

PAGASA said this is due to the rainfall brought about by the recent Typhoon Tisoy (international name: Kammuri) and the effects of the northeast monsoon (Amihan).

The state weather bureau said water levels at the Angat dam usually improve at this time of the year based on historical data.

Despite this, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) advised the public to still conserve and use water wisely.

NWRB executive director Servillo David Jr. said this is because the target normal operating level of 212 meters for Angat Dam has yet to be reached.

Angat Dam supplies water to Metro Manila and Central Luzon areas.

“Nag-i-improve siya pero ang sabi nga namin ‘yung improvement niya hindi natin masasabing okay na tayo para maging business as usual tayo sa paggamit natin ng tubig. We’re not out of the woods yet,” David said.

“Sabi nga natin, mas mababa siya kumpara sa mga nagdaang taon,” he added.

David warned that water consumers may again experience supply shortage in the next dry season if the normal operating level at Angat dam will not be hit by the end of the year.

“Kapag hindi po kasi siya naka-recover dun sa target natin na 212 meters, then magkakaroon ng impact ito sa water supply natin particularly for the Metro Manila residents at kasama na rin yung sa irrigation which is around 27,000 hectares sa Bulacan at Pampanga,” he said.

“Baka magpapatuloy po, most likely ay magpapatuloy ang kabawasan sa suplay natin sa tubig,” he added.

Parts of Metro Manila and nearby areas are still experiencing rotational water interruption due to insufficient supply.

According to PAGASA, the water level at Angat dam may only reach 200 meters even if the northeast monsoon prevails until February next year.

The state weather bureau has not monitored any weather disturbance that may develop into a tropical cyclone outside the Philippine area of responsibility. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Joan Nano)

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MWSS cancels extension of Manila Water, Maynilad water concession deal

Aileen Cerrudo   •   December 11, 2019

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has revoked the extension of the government’s water concession agreement with the Manila Water and Maynilad.

MWSS Deputy Administrator for Engineering, Leonor Cleofas confirmed that they revoked the board resolution extending the water concession agreement of Maynilad and Manila Water until 2037.

The MWSS said this was prompted by the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte due to the “onerous” provisions in the said water concession agreement.

“It was on the agenda that the board tackles the resolution on the approval of the extension of the concession agreement. That was brought about by the directive of the President tackled in the Cabinet meeting… they are now revoking the board resolution adopted in 2008,” Cleofas said.

Cleofas made the confirmation on Wednesday’s (Dec. 11) joint hearing of the House Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability and on Public Accounts.

With this move by the MWSS, the concession agreement with Maynilad and Manila Water to service Metro Manila and parts of Luzon will expire in 2022.—AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Maynilad, Manila Water rate to spike in 2020

Maris Federez   •   December 6, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services will affect a rate hike in January 2020.

This is at the height of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive to review the contract between the government and the two water concessionaires. 

Maynilad and Manila Water will implement around P3.00 per cubic meter price hike.

Add to this is the increase in the Foreign Currency Differential Adjustment (FCDA) and other foreign currencies that the two water concessionaires use in their loan payment.

In 2018, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has approved Maynilad and Manila Water’s rate increase petition.

For Maynilad, the approved rate hike is P5.73 which will be applied on a staggered basis for five years or until 2022.

Manila Water, on the other hand, had been allowed a rate increase of P6.22 to P6.50.

Meanwhile, with the expected rate hike, water service interruption will still be experienced by Maynilad and Manila Water consumers as the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) has yet to increase Metro Manila’s water allocation despite the rising water level in Angat Dam.

As of Friday morning, the water level in Angat Dam was at 195.03 meters.

This, however, is still far from the dam’s normal operating level of 210 to 212 meters.

Authorities advise the public to continue to conserve water to maintain sufficient water supply in Angat Dam until the next dry season. (from the report of Harlene Delgado) /mbmf

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