Water interruptions loom as NWRB cuts allocation for Metro Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   June 14, 2019   •   2716

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)

Maynilad reduces hours of water interruption in affected areas

Marje Pelayo   •   November 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Maynilad customers can relax a bit as the water concessionaire announced shorter hours of water service interruptions.

Maynilad said recent days of rainshowers helped in replenishing water supply in Ipo Dam.

“Twenty percent of our customers have interruptions of about 8 to 10 hours. But that is starting to reduce because of the rains that came in but we don’t know for how long again,” explained Maynilad President and CEO Ramoncito Fernandez.

Around nine million households in the West Zone of Metro Manila depend on Maynilad for water supply especially if water supply becomes thin during the dry season when Angat Dam fails to replenish as predicted by the state weather service PAGASA.

According to Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), they just limited the allocation so as not to deplete the supply in Angat Dam.

“Wala naman tayong (There is no) water crisis. We are just making sure that water crisis last March will not happen anymore,” said MWSS Administrator Emmanuel Salamat.

Meanwhile, the MWSS is pushing measures to protect Laguna Lake from pollution.

“We have just proposed protection and preservation of our Laguna Lake and declare it as a vital source of our domestic freshwater supply,” Salamat said.

So far, Maynilad has treatment plants that generate water from Laguna Lake and supplies to 310 million liters of water daily to its customers.

According to Fernandez, Laguna Lake can produce the volume of domestic water being supplied by the Angat Dam.

Laguna Lake is over 90,000 hectares in area which is larger than Singapore.

“To my mind, Laguna Lake is the biggest body of water that can supply Metro Manila and even the surrounding provinces like Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal,” he explained.

According to Maynilad, though Laguna Lake is used for fishery, it should primarily serve as a source of water for domestic use. – MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Angat Dam may not be replenished until end of the year – PAGASA

Marje Pelayo   •   November 6, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – State weather service PAGASA believes that the water level in Angat Dam is still far from reaching the maximum water level of 212 meters even before the year ends.

PAGASA said the amount of rainfall in the country is still not enough to replenish what was lost during the onset of El Niño that started last year up to the first quarter of 2019.

Weather specialist Benison Estareja said observing the current state of the weather, Angat Dam’s water level may only reach up to a maximum of 190 meters.

“Ngayon ay nasa normal pa naman ang water level natin pero ang sinasabi natin na normal high water level na 210 meters ay malabo,” Estareja said.

(So far, our water level remains normal but not the normal high level of 210 meters.)

According to the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), water supply interruptions will continue for Metro Manila clients in order to reserve water supply for the dry season.

“Sa ganito pong lebel sa 190 meters ay kaya naman nating ma-manage yan. Kaya lang magpapatuloy yung kabawasan alokasyon para ito ay mapaabot sa summer next year,” Sevillo David, the NWRB Executive Director said.

(We can still manage with 190 meters water level. However, we need to continue with limited allocation so our supply would last until summer next year.)

Water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water are both imposing water service interruptions to its customers.

The two companies advised clients to store water enough for use until normal schedule resumes.

“Kapag mataas ang lebel ng Ipo dam, iniigsian natin (ang water interruption),” said Grace Laxa, Maynilad’s Media Relations Asst. Manager

(When Ipo Dam’s water level is high, we cut short the hours of water interruption.)

“Imbes na halimbawa may area tayo ng 10 hours pupwedeng 8 hours nalang ang kanilang interruption (For instance, an area that experiences 10 hours interruption will only have 8 hours),” he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte previously stated that he will use his extraordinary power to solve problems in water supply in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

For now, according to the NWRB, the best and the easiest way to replenish water supply is through deep well. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Angat Dam water level continues to drop

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 24, 2019

The water level at Angat Dam continues to drop from 186.23 meters on Wednesday (October 23) to 185.87m as of 6:00 a.m. on Thursday (October 24).

READ: NWRB to reduce water allocation for irrigation in Bulacan, Pampanga

Due to this, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) is aiming to cut water allocations. According to NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr., they want to manage the water supply in case the water level will not reach 212 meters by the end of the year.

“In order to manage iyong supply ngayon just in case na hindi ganoon ka-favorable iyong mga rainfall na darating sa Angat watershed (In order to manage the current supply in case there will be no favorable rainfall at Angat watershed),” he said.

According to PAGASA, rainfalls are still expected in Angat Dam area before the end of the year.

“Pagpasok ng November may mga dalawang bagyo tayong inaasahan diyan (By November, we are expecting two more typhoons),” weather specialist Edgar dela Cruz said.

The NWRB said they plan to conduct cloud seeding operation but that will only slightly increase the water level at Angat Dam.

Meanwhile, the NWRB will launch a campaign for responsible water consumption by November.—AAC (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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