Militant group asks: Is country at the heels of permanent water crisis?
MANILA, Philippines – Is the country facing a permanent water crisis?
This was the question of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) amid the water rotation schedule that will be implemented by water concessionaire Maynilad on Thursday night, due to the low water levels at both Angat and Ipo Dams.
According to Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes Jr., the projects of the water concessionaires should be looked upon by the government and the public especially since the looming water shortage started last March 2019 — months before another water rotation schedule.
“Are we facing a permanent water crisis? It appears that since the water crisis broke out in March 2019, there has been no significant improvement in the sourcing of water aside from that which comes from Angat dam,” Reyes said in a message to reporters.
“Both private concessionaires should explain what steps they have taken to address the apparent shortage. Manila Water at the time was being pressed to bridge the deficit in its supply through the operation of the Cardona plant. What is the status of this?” he asked.
Earlier, Maynilad said that the rotation — which may last for up to 19 hours — was also brought by the relatively-lower water allocation to them, which was at 40 cubic meters per second (CMS) compared to the normal 48 CMS.
Manila Water also previously warned of a possible rotation on their part if Angat Dam’s levels continue to decrease. Maynilad takes care of the west concession zone while Manila Water handles operations in the east concession zone of Metro Manila and its nearby provinces.
While Angat Dam has recovered from breaching the 160 meter water level mark last summer, its current 185.87 meter level on Thursday is still 24.13 meters shy of the normal high water level.
La Mesa Dam, Manila Water’s other source of water, meanwhile is at 77.47 meters — 2.68 meters away from the normal high levels.
Both dams however suffered decreases in water levels since Wednesday, with Angat going down by 0.36 meters, and La Mesa by 0.06 meters.
“The MWSS and NWRB are saying that the interruptions are necessary because they need to preserve the main water source until summer next year. Are they now saying that the service interruptions are expected to last until summer? What is the real status of alternative water sources?” Reyes asked.
“Both private concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water were given substantial water rate hikes since October last year. Given the frequent interruptions, these concessionaires should no longer be allowed to collect the remaining rate hike,” he added.
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