Paje assures ample supply but urges public to conserve water

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Environment Secretary Ramon Paje. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—Environment Secretary Ramon Paje on Saturday urged residents of Metro Manila to conserve water, even as he allayed fears of a looming water crisis in the peak of summer.

Based on the latest monitoring of Angat Dam, the reservoir supplying most of the capital’s water needs, the water level remains “generally above normal,” according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

As of 6 a.m. of April 4, the water level at Angat Dam was at 206.42 meters, “still above the minimum operational level” of 180 meters, Paje said.

“This would mean that Metro Manila will have ample water supply during summer,” he said.

Paje chairs the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), the lead government agency managing the country’s water sector.

The NWRB regularly monitors the water level at Angat Dam, which supplies 97 percent of Metro Manila’s water needs, mostly for domestic consumption, and irrigation of farmlands in the nearby provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga in Luzon.

Paje also assured the public that the water supply to the metropolis would not be affected by the recent decision of the NWRB to release an additional 10 cubic meters per second of water from the dam for one week to supply the hydroelectric energy needs of the National Power Corp.

Even so, the official asked the public to try to reduce the volume of water they use every day.

“Let us treat water as a valuable natural resource and a shared commodity that we should all protect for everyone else’s benefit, especially during the summer months when there is more danger of the supply not being enough to meet our demands,” he said.

With appropriate conservation measures, he said, residents of Metro Manila and other parts of the country could enjoy adequate water supply to last for the rest of the year in spite of the rising summer heat .

Paje gave the following tips to conserve water:

•   Check for plumbing leaks and report pipe leaks to the water concessionaires;

•   Use water sparingly such as when brushing teeth and washing hands;

•   Use a pail and dipper instead of the shower when bathing or the hose when washing vehicles and gardening during cooler times of the day;

•   Reduce the frequency of doing the laundry, and hang clothes to dry instead of prolonging the washing machine’s spin cycle; and

•   Utilize used water for other purposes such as dousing garden plants with water used in food preparation, and use soapy laundry water for vehicles.

Paje also called on building administrators to limit water supply on certain hours of the day when there are fewer occupants.

For industries, the environment chief proposed improving wastewater treatment facilities and using recycled water for gardening, cleaning floors, flushing toilets, among others.

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