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Long queues, water recycling: How are Filipinos coping with water shortage?

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, 12 March 2019 06:07 PM

Residents stock up on water that they have painstakingly collected from roving water trucks.

Thousands of households in Mandaluyong City and other parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province being serviced by Manila Water, are still without water for almost a week now.

In a report on UNTV News and Rescue’s CNEWS by Joan Nano, residents and establishment owners in Barangka Drive have been complaining that their taps have remained dry since Thursday night (March 7), affecting their daily needs and operations.

They also lamented Manila Water’s alleged delayed distribution of water ration in their village, with some reporting that the first water tank only arrived around 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday (March 12).

Naturally, a mob of residents carrying hordes of pails, large containers and drums swarmed the tank, swiftly depleting its contents.

While others returned home with drums full of fresh water, some who lined up last were left high and dry, causing squabbles to break out over the little water supply.

So, how are they coping with water shortage?

In order to survive, some residents have dug up their tried and tested water conservation techniques by recycling the water they used in taking a bath or washing their clothes and kitchen utensils to flush their toilets. Water used in washing uncooked rice is also being used to water the plants.

Others have started using disposable plates and utensils while some wrap their plates with plastic to eliminate any need to wash the plates after eating.

Manila Water has earlier assured it will deploy round-the-clock water tankers in areas hit by water service interruption. Water deliveries, however, will prioritize hospitals.  

Manila Water has earlier cited the critical water level of La Mesa Dam due to the effects of prevailing El Niño phenomenon as among the reasons of its currently limited water supply.

As of March 12 at 6 a.m., the water level of La Mesa dam was at 68.85 meters which is below its critical level of 69 meters above sea level, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) Hydrology Division

To help address water shortage, Maynilad has agreed to share its supply with Manila Water.

According to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Maynilad will share at least 50 million liters per day to help fill Manila Water’s shortage of around 150 to 280 liters of water per day.

Maynilad services the western half of Metro Manila while Manila Water provides for the East Zone of Metro Manila and Rizal province.

Manila Water is also expected to activate its water treatment plant in Rizal this month to serve as another source to supply households.

The MWSS, however, clarified that the main source of water for Metro Manila is Angat Dam and La Mesa Dam is only a reserve should Angat dam water level drops.

Angat Dam water level is currently at 200 meters which is below its normal level of 210 meters.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) has earlier assured there is enough water in Angat Dam for Metro Manila for the entire dry season. – Robie De Guzman

Read: La Mesa Dam needs a week of continuous rain to recover – PAGASA

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MWSS assures no repeat of metro-wide water interruption

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, 20 March 2019 04:19 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte admonished the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, and water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad upon meeting with them on Tuesday night (March 19).

The President reportedly didn’t even bother to hear any of their defense on the water shortage.

In a statement, Malacañang said the Chief Executive issued a stern warning of removing MWSS from their posts and terminating the contracts of the two water concessionaires if their services will not improve.

“The Chief Executive bluntly told them to ‘shape up or ship out’!” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco assured they have already laid out plans to prevent having a repeat of the water interruption in Metro Manila.

“If I cannot do it, I will resign immediately,” Velasco added.

Velasco also admitted that the Chief Executive’s directive issued last week had been a big help for them to immediately resolve the water outage in the east zone of Metro Manila.

The official, meanwhile, denied allegations that the water shortage is just artificial and made-up to justify the construction of the New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam Project.

Velasco said, “Hindi sila pwedeng magmoro-moro sa amin. Pag moro-moro insult sa aming intelligence.We are on top of the situation. Di pwedeng mag-arte-arte yang mga water concessionaires (They cannot not play us for fools. It will be an insult to our intelligence. We are on top of the situation. These concessionaires should stop acting up).”

Meanwhile, the MWSS expects that the delivery of water supply will go back to normal in Metro Manila come April, except for some barangays in elevated areas.

Still, the MWSS assures these barangays of sufficient water supply.

“That’s not a problem because we have 150 fleets of water tanks,” Velasco added.

Meanwhile, Manila Water Spokesperson Jeric Sevilla said in a statement that they are “focused now on exerting all efforts to bring water service availability back to normal levels at the earliest possible time.” Maris Federez

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Duterte tells MWSS, water concessionaires: ‘Shape up or ship out!’

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Wednesday, 20 March 2019 10:05 AM

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (March 19) scolded the executives of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and the two water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad for “not doing their job” that resulted in a metro-wide water shortage.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Chief Executive vented out his anger on concerned officials and told them to “shape up or ship out!”

“In a stern message delivered without even once looking at the officials, the obviously outraged President threatened to fire the MWSS officials and terminate the concessionaires’ contracts,” Panelo said.

The meeting, which Panelo described as a ‘presidential monologue’, lasted for 40 minutes.

The President ended his tirade by ordering the officials to submit a report on the water shortage before April 7.

“After which he will decide whether heads will roll or whether the contracts of the concessionaires will be terminated,” Panelo concluded.

For more than a week, residents of Metro Manila and Rizal suffered water shortage prompting the administration to direct water authorities to release 150 days-worth of water from Angat Dam to supply affected areas.

The Upper and Lower Houses of Congress conducted their respective hearings on the matter which called for penalties against Manila Water for violating the concession agreement and the resignation of concerned officials over mismanagement, incompetence and negligence. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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Penalty vs. Manila Water possible by June or July – MWSS

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Tuesday, 19 March 2019 11:36 PM

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – After drawing the ire of congressmen at Monday’s hearing on the water crisis, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) chief regulator Patrick Ty seemed to have pulled himself together to face the members of the Senate anew on Tuesday (March 19).

Ty was in hot water during the hearing at the House of Representatives (HOR) for claiming that the MWSS is powerless to punish Manila Water despite pointing out himself that the water concessionaire violated its mandate to provide 24/7 water to its clients.

But during Tuesday’s hearing in Senate, the chief regulator admitted that due to the ‘unprecedented situation’ caused by water outage and since no law prohibits the government to penalize violation of concession agreement, the MWSS can impose penalty even earlier than the next rebasing on 2022.

“We are studying it right now, we are also actually studying the amount of the penalty that will be imposed, which can be rebated,” Ty said.

“We are exploring the option of imposing it, if there is any, around June or July,” he added.

Ty said the MWSS wants to prioritize fixing the current supply problem.

During the hearing, stakeholders and local officials lamented over the situations in their areas because of shortage of water supply.

“Talagang walang tubig. Ito ang unang (pagkakataon na) naapektuhan (kami). Ang ginawa namin, ang lahat ng fire volunteer namin (ay) nagsama sama kasi talagang nagaaway away na po ang mga tao kasi hinaharang na po ang firetruck,” said Darwin Fernandez, a barangay chief in Mandaluyong City.

Manila Water President and CEO Ferdinand dela Cruz felt sorry for failing their customers but assured that they are mobilizing 30 delivery trucks a day to ration water in affected areas.

“I have instructed our team to look for ways to see how we could have for services that rendered in affected communities,” he said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, questioned Manila Water regarding the Cardona treatment plant, a project supposed to be completed in December 2018 but has not been operating until today.

MWSS Administration Reynaldo Velasco said, had it running today it could have drawn water from La Mesa Dam and the it could have augmented to the water shortage.

The sad truth, Lacson said, consumers are now paying for the said unfinished project and that is “tantamount to a government sanctioned highway robbery.”

Velasco took the chance to raise the necessity to expedite the construction of the China-funded Kaliwa Dam which he believes would solve the recurrent problem in water supply.

But when asked to explain why the MWSS is pushing for China’s proposal than the much cheaper and faster construction deal of Japan, Velasco said the deal was already closed by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

“The project has been approved by the President and we cannot do anything anymore,”

Senate Committee on Public Services chair Senator Grace Poe urged the MWSS to hold Manila Water accountable for the current crisis to compensate the affected clients.

“Imposible na walang kompesasyon sa mga nangungunsumo dahil tayo ay talagang nangungunsime ngayon,” the lady senator said.

Because of the controversy, the Senate panel asked Manila Water to voluntarily lower the succeeding water rate in consideration of the affected customers.

Manila Water was adamant against agreeing, but the MWSS’ chief regulator said they will look into the suggestion.

“That is part of the things that we are doing kung pwede this month huwag mag-charge muna,” Ty assured.  — Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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