Local water districts can help curb water supply woes – LWUA exec
MANILA, Philippines – Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Administrator Jeci Lapus on Tuesday proposed that Metro Manila’s water concessionaires seek additional water supply from water districts in nearby provinces to immediately alleviate the water crisis gripping in the metropolis.
Lapus added that Manila Water Company Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. should also help transport the water from adjacent provinces such as Cavite, Laguna and Bulacan.
“Ang measures that could be taken… is to touch base with the local water districts surrounding Metro Manila to assist in the water needs of the city. Pero ang Metro Manila po ay 2 million households. Ang nasa Laguna, Cavite and Bulacan naman is only about 950,000 households so kung makakahingi po tayo run wala pang 1/2 o 1/3 of the need of the city,” Lapus said.
Manila Water president and CEO Ferdinand dela Cruz and Maynilad counterpart Ramoncito Fernandez welcomed the suggestion.
“Manila Water welcomes any additional supply to support the supply deficit of Angat (Dam)… and find a way to transport the water to us,” Dela Cruz said.
Meanwhile, Fernandez said Maynilad would need to check the concerns of local water districts because “hindi rin ho ganun kaganda ang service ng ibang water districts.”
Lapus nonetheless said local water districts are willing to extend help but will need transportation resources.
Department of Water
In the long-term, Lapus stressed the need for an integrated Department of Water to focus on the water issues of the country.
He said the existence of around 32 separate agencies concerned with water makes it arduous to coordinate and plan.
Water desalination meanwhile takes years, according to Lapus.
Later in the hearing, the House committees on Metro Manila development, public works and highways and natural resources adopted House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s House Bill No. 8068 proposing the creation of the Department of Water.
But this bill could no longer be passed by the present 17th Congress because it already ended its sessions. Arroyo earlier said their committee report could just be endorsed to the next Congress, which opens on July 22.
“When we come up with a committee report, they can endorse the creation of a Department of Water… and endorse it to the next Congress,” Arroyo said.
The water level in Angat Dam, Metro Manila’s primary source of water, was measured at 158.77 meters at 6:00 a.m., below the critical level of 160 meters. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola/Mike U. Frialde)
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.