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La Mesa Dam water crisis will worsen

If you are a Manila Water Co. Inc. customer who lives in the farthest and highest area of its distribution network, brace yourself for a very serious water shortage in the coming days.

Last weekend, the water level at Manila Water’s major reservoir, La Mesa Dam, dipped below critical level (69 meters). It was at 68.90 m on Monday morning. I was floored by drone videos from the Quezon City government that showed a drying water reservoir even before the start of summer.

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The scenario of a dried-up La Mesa Dam is forcing Manila Water to deal with a water crisis for its consumers in Mandaluyong, Pasig, San Juan, Marikina, Quezon City, Makati, Taguig and Pateros as well as parts of Rizal province.

Maynilad Water Services Inc., on the other hand, is not yet in crisis mode since it gets its supply directly from Angat Dam where the water level is at 200 m, still far from the critical level of 180 m.

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Maynilad also has 40 different reservoirs and 30 pumping stations all over its west zone franchise area.

When the water at Angat Dam breached critical level in 2010, resulting in a drought, Maynilad suffered the most. It was forced to resort to water rationing.

At that time, Manila Water’s La Mesa Dam reservoir saved the day for its east zone customers.

The situation has been reversed now. When I interviewed her on my radio program, Dittie Galang of Manila Water said that we should pray for an early rainy season.

* * *

Seeing senators and congressmen brawling over their “pet projects” in the unsigned P3.757-trillion national budget for this year, I can’t help but ask, can’t they just buckle down to serious work?

Senate President Tito Sotto cited a report from the Senate budget research and monitoring office, saying that the House of Representatives had realigned P79 billion in the proposed budget. Sen. Panfilo Lacson also accused Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of unlawfully funneling nearly P95 billion in infrastructure projects, which she flatly denied.

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Rep. Rolando Andaya, House appropriation committee chair, explained that they only itemized their “lump-sum appropriations” to make it more transparent and easy to scrutinize.

It was the Senate, Andaya claimed, who realigned P75 billion in the budget. He also revealed that the senators had parked P25 billion in additional funds for their pet projects in the Department of Public Works and Highways.

These accusations reveal the character of many legislators we voted into office. They are clearly fighting for their “own interests” even against fiscal prudence. Billions of pesos for each senator and millions of pesos for each congressman.

In my neighborhood, this is already called “looting!”

* * *

I was not surprised that Gen. Alexander Balutan was removed by President Duterte as Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office general manager.

I heard that several candidates had asked Balutan for “available campaign funds” or “monthly contributions” from small-town lottery operators. Some were successful, others failed.

For comments and suggestions, please e-mail [email protected]

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TAGS: 2019 national budget, Alexander Balutan, Jake J. Maderazo, La Mesa Dam, Manila Water, Maynilad Water Services Inc., Metro Manila water supply, Sharp Edges
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