Dry taps spark outcry
Water service interruptions across Metro Manila have provoked an outpouring of anger and pleas for help from residents and small business owners whose daily routines have been disrupted by the prolonged shortage.
The flood of consternation came amid an announcement from Manila Water Co. Inc. on Sunday that the water interruptions would further extend to areas in Quezon City, Makati, Marikina, Pasig, Pateros, Taguig, Mandaluyong, San Juan and parts of Rizal province.
Some of the affected areas were scheduled to lose water for as long as 22 hours a day but many residents grumbled that their taps were still dry even during the promised two-hour respite.
Further heightening anxieties, Manila Water did not say in its advisories until when the interruptions would last. Limited rainfall had caused water levels at La Mesa Dam, the source of the company’s supply, to dip to critical levels in recent days.
Jesse Livingston, whose girlfriend owns a noodle house on popular food hub Maginhawa Street in Quezon City, told the Inquirer they had been forced to subsist on an alternate water source after their own supply was cut on Friday.
“She has needed to place buckets in the comfort room and wash station so guests can use the toilet,” Livingston said. There are also 25-gallon containers stocked in the kitchen for washing the dishes.
“If she loses the alternate supply, then that’s it,” he added, saying a shop below them had already closed. “Five staffers go home with no wages and the restaurant’s financial footprint in the local community disappears.”
Nicole Gonzales, owner of Soap Shack Laundromat in Mandaluyong City, said the water shortage had placed a strain on both her operations and sales since Friday.
“We had to lay off some employees and instruct them not to go to work anymore because we had to close earlier than usual,” she said.
Reaj Evangelista, a resident of Barangay Barangka Drive, Mandaluyong City, said the disruptions had severely affected the routine in her house where she lived with her father, a stroke patient, and two young nephews.
“We save water as much as possible by eating on paper plates or ordering food outside,” she told the Inquirer. They had to trek to a relative’s house to wash clothes, and were heavily reliant on firetrucks that pass by to provide extra water.
Barangka Drive is one of the villages that had been scheduled to receive water from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., but Evangelista said not “a single drop of water” had returned since Thursday.
Gripes about advisories
Roselle de Ortega, a resident of Barangay San Luis in Antipolo, Rizal, had similar gripes about Manila Water being unable to provide proper advisories or follow the schedules it had stipulated.
The company said water at San Luis would be cut from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., but her taps had been dry since the night before, Ortega said.
In its Facebook page, Manila Water apologized to its customers for water interruptions outside of their announced schedules, saying it was due to the increase in demand.
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