NWRB readies measures should Angat Dam breaches 160 meter mark
MANILA, Philippines — Limited domestic water supply becomes a possibility if the dwindling water level of the Angat Dam breaches the 160 meter mark, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) said on Thursday.
“Sa ngayon po, kung magpapatuloy po ‘yong wala masyadong ulan lalo na sa watershed ng Angat, ay posible po,” NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David told Radyo Inquirer.
Angat Dam’s water level went as low as 157 meters in 2010. At present, David said the water level at the dam remains at 164 meters, or almost 16 meters shy of the normal operating level of 180 meters.
David is however hopeful that the onset of the rainy season by the first or second week of June as predicted by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (Pagasa) will bring with it the needed rain to sufficiently raise the dam’s water level.
“Umaasa po tayo na itong mga pag-ulan na sinasabi po ng Pagasa na darating nitong mga susunod na araw, ay makarating po sana para po makatulong doon sa pagbawi ng Angat Dam, para matugunan natin ng maayos ang mga pangangailangan sa tubig,” he said.
“Sabi nga ng Pagasa ‘yong panahon ng pag-ulan ay parating na po, so umaasa rin po tayo na hindi po tayo aabot sa gano’ng sitwasyon,” David said.
David however assures though that the NRWB has adequate contingency measures in place should a worst case scenario becomes a reality.
“Kung sakali po na umabot tayo sa (below) 160 meters na level, ay naka-handa naman po tayo sa kabuuang pangangailangan ng mga kababayan natin sa Metro Manila,” he said.
From March to May, customers of water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad experienced water interruptions mainly because of dwindling water supply from Angat and the La Mesa Dam.
Recently, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Services (MWSS) slapped Manila Water with a hefty fine after some areas within its service area were left without water for 24 hours for seven days or more in March. The MWSS also issued a notice of service obligation failure to Maynilad after reports of interruptions in May.
The government is exploring new water sources, with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez saying that the Chinese-funded Kaliwa Dam is the country’s best bet to addressing water shortage in the capital region.
But government critics are wary of deal struck with China, especially after it was revealed that patrimonial assets like the Recto Bank can be seized by Beijing if the Philippines defaults on its loan payments. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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