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NEARER RECORD LOW SET IN 1998

No relief yet: La Mesa water level keeps dropping

/ 07:24 AM March 20, 2019

With thousands of consumers in Metro Manila still suffering from water shortages, La Mesa Dam offered no relief as its water level dropped further on Tuesday.

As of 6 a.m., the dam’s water level was listed at 68.63 meters, or below the 69-meter critical low level, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa).

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Barely a week ago, it was 68.74 meters, breaking a 21-year record low of 68.75 meters during an El Niño phenomenon in 1998.

Not all due to El Niño

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Normal water level at La Mesa, an earth dam from where Manila Water Inc. draws water, is 80.15 meters.

Pagasa hydrologist Danny Flores said in an interview that the water level was expected to recede further with the lack of significant rainfall in the dam’s watershed in Novaliches, Quezon City.

Continuous drawing of water from the dam to meet growing demand from consumers would further bring the water level down, Flores said.

Despite the dry weather, he said the situation could not be fully attributed to El Niño, a dry spell triggered by periodic warming in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Since last year, La Mesa dam’s water elevation has been significantly low, Flores said.

Impact mainly on Mindanao

“During the El Niño in 2010, for instance, the water level in the dam was not that low,” he said. “The impact of El Niño can be observed more in areas in Mindanao, which are affected by drought.”

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With less rain and the approach of summer, Flores said water levels in all dams in the country were expected to go down.

Areas serviced by Ayala-owned Manila Water, which supplies water to the east zone, have experienced water shortages since last week.

Households, businesses and even hospitals were affected by the low water pressure and service interruptions.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate held separate inquiries into the issue, which brought to the fore the lack of planning and infrastructure needed to supply the demand of Metro Manila’s growing population.

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TAGS: Danny Flores, El Niño, La Mesa Dam, water shortage
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