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AS WATER SUPPLY GRADUALLY RESTORED

Mandaluyong residents optimistic but wary

Mandaluyong residents optimistic but wary

CONTINUOUS DECLINE The water level of La Mesa Dam keeps on going down, setting new record lows. On March 14, it hit 68.74, the lowest since 1998 when it fell to 68.75 meters. —JAM STA. ROSA

Mandaluyong residents and business owners appeared cautiously optimistic on Monday as water was gradually restored to most parts of the city, allowing them to ease back into their daily routines that had been upended by last week’s water shortage.

But even as they seemed to heave a collective sigh of relief, the chaos resulting from the water interruptions remained fresh on residents’ minds.

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“I can only hope,” said a woman who identified herself only as Maricon of Wash King Machines at Barangay Barangka Drive, when asked if she thought the crisis was over.

Barangka Drive was one of the villages most affected by Manila Water Co. Inc.’s supply adjustment scheme, implemented allegedly due to the plunging water level of La Mesa Dam.

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Water finally returned to their taps on Friday, Maricon said, allowing the small laundromat to reopen after a weeklong shutdown.

She calculated that they lost at least P3,000 a day due to the water shortage.

Maricon added that even though their water supply had gone back to normal, they continued to keep a stock of water-filled containers at the laundromat just in case their taps dried up again.

Feli Patricio, a hairstylist at Brush and Style Salon, also at Barangka Drive, said that Monday was only the second day they were operating normally.

The salon, which relied on an array of services ranging from hair coloring to shampooing to supply the bulk of its income, had offered only haircuts the previous week. Since only one employee knew how to cut hair, the rest had nothing to do.

Lost profits

Although their water supply was now consistent, Patricio lamented the financial losses their shop had incurred.

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“It’s not like we can ask Manila Water not to charge us, but if you think about it, there should be a reduction there,” she said.

Prices at water refilling stations also stabilized on Monday after sharply increasing the previous week.

Aaron Gutierrez, who works at Aqua Prima in Barangay Barangka Itaas, told the Inquirer the price for four gallons of water had gone back down to P35 after reaching a high of P50. Like several other refilling stations, he said they had been forced to acquire their water from a separate, farther source.

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