Water interruptions loom as NWRB cuts allocation for Metro Manila
Robie de Guzman • June 14, 2019 • 2670
MANILA, Philippines – The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) has reduced the allocation for Metro Manila amid the continued drop in water levels at Angat Dam, which is the metropolis’ main water source, an official said Friday.
The NWRB lowered the allocation for Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to 46 cubic meters per second (CBS) for the month of June from the average 48 CBS last month.
NWRB director Servillano David said they were forced to cut down Metro Manila’s water allocation after water level at Angat dam dipped further. The latest water level is at 163.66 meters, which is 16 meters below the normal operating level of 180.
David said the current water level is expected to go down further in the coming days and may breach the critical level of 160 meters if there will be no enough rain at the Angat watershed area.
“Sa ganoong level po at 160 meters, magkakaroon na ng isyu in terms of availability ng supply,” he said.
“Sa ngayon bumababa pa rin siya despite the pronouncement ng PAGASA na parating na ang onset ng rainy season. ‘Yung mga pag-ulan na inaasahan natin dun sa Angat water shed ay hindi po dumarating,” he added.
Looming water service interruptions
With the dwindling water level at the Angat dam, consumers are told to brace for possible water interruptions.
East zone water concessionaire Manila Water Co. said it is already trying to manage its supply by implementing water interruptions during off-peak hours.
“Ang ginagawa lang natin ngayon, patuloy ang operational adjustment natin. Pero in the event na hindi na kaya ng sistema natin na mag-provide pa ng additonal water supply, talagang magbabawas tayo,” said Jeric Sevilla, spokesperson for Manila Water.
West Zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc., meanwhile, said it also implemented water interruptions from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. when water usage is usually low.
“During night time para po mabigyan kami ng pagkakataon na ma-refill ‘yung aming reservoirs para during peak hours naman po sa araw ay hindi po mararamdaman ng aming mga customer itong pagbaba ng supply sa Metro Manila,” said Ronald Padua, who heads Maynilad operations.
Water concessionaires said the limited water supply will especially affect consumers in elevated areas.
Consumers are advised to contact hotlines and social media accounts of Maynilad and Manila Water for further details on water service interruptions.
The NWRB also called on the public anew to use water responsibly and wisely, to store rainwater and to recycle wastewater for other purposes. (with details from Joan Nano)
Despite the rising water level in Angat Dam, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) has expressed concern about the possibility of another water crisis next year.
The NWRB said that if Angat Dam fails to reach its normal operating level, Metro Manila might experience another shortage come dry season.
Because of this, Congressman Ruffy Biazon, during the House Committee on Metro Manila Development hearing on Wednesday (August 28), recommended the use of Laguna Lake as a permanent source of domestic water.
This aims to address the shortage of water supply in Metro Manila and its neighboring cities and provinces in case the water level in Angat Dam recedes anew.
“Kasi iilan lang yung nakikinabang doon eh. Pinagkakakitaan yung Laguna Lake hindi para sa paggamit ng ordinaryong mamayan kung hindi sa paggamit ng mga interes ng kumpanya,” Biazon said.
The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) agreed that this can be done, although they admit that they do not have the funding to conduct dredging in the lake.
They also cited the expense that will be incurred in treating and eliminating the saltwater from Manila Bay that gets combined to the water in the lake.
Add to this is the fast-increasing formation of algae which affects the quality of the water.
“Ang Laguna Lake kaya niyang i-supply ang requirement for domestic water supply as source of domestic water. Ang problema lang is more on the water quality,” said Engr. Emiterio Hernandez of the LLDA.
To date, Maynilad and Manila Water get a small percentage of water supply from Laguna Lake for their customers in Metro Manila, Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, and Bulacan.
Meanwhile, water levels in several dams are continuously increasing due to the rains being experienced in the country.
As of 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, the water level in Angat Dam has reached 181.74 meters.
Ipo Dam water level, on the other hand, has gone up to 11.82 meters; while that of La Mesa Dam went up to 77.18. (from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf
Metro Manila mayors expressed confidence they would meet the deadline of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to clear public roads in their area.
The mayors have reported during the 25th Metro Manila Council meeting on Tuesday (Aug 27) that their road clearing operations are on track with the scheduled deadline.
San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora reported that 80% of roads have been cleared. Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said 50 to 60% of national and secondary roads have been cleared while tertiary roads are still being cleared.
Representatives of other cities like Muntinlupa and Caloocan have reported, 100% of their major roads have been cleared. Their operations will still continue in barangay roads.
MMDA Chairman Danilo Lim is elated with the progress in the road clearing operation and said that maintaining will be the difficult part.
“Clearing operations have been successful with the Metro Manila mayors leading the campaign. We can see that there is progress. Our Metro Manila mayors are doing their part but big challenge is maintenance and sustenance,” said Lim.
Lim also warned barangay officials who will refuse to participate in the road clearing operations.
“We asked the barangays captains to do their part in ensuring that cleared roads are free from obstructions. We are warning barangay officials who refused to cooperate may face charges,” he said.—AAC
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