Water supply woes may continue until next rainy season–NWRB
MANILA, Philippines — The National Water Resource Board (NWRB) on Wednesday said Metro Manila would continue to suffer from reduced water distribution and rotational water interruptions until next year’s rainy season if no significant rainfall replenishes the water level in Angat Dam.
NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. said the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System had decreased its water allocation to water concessionaires to manage Angat’s water supply until the next summer. Maynilad Water Services, Inc. and Manila Water Company, Inc. have implemented rotational water interruptions following this.
“Sa ngayon po base po sa projection ng Pagasa, baka ho mas mababa sa 190 (meters) ang magiging lebel natin kung wala talagang magiging significant rainfall na darating within the year…” David said during the hearing of the House Metro Manila development committee.
(As of now, based on Pagasa’s projection, Angat Dam’s water level may drop below 190 meters if no significant rainfall comes within the year.)
“Mapapaabot naman po natin hanggang summer next year ang tubig kaya lang po kailangan talaga natin ma-manage ‘yung supply but probably po magpapatuloy ‘yung hindi normal na allocation for the water supply for Metro Manila,” he added.
(Our water supply can last until summer next year but we have to manage it, probably the abnormal water allocation for Metro Manila will continue.)
In the same meeting, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Climatologist Junie Ruiz said tropical storm “Quiel” would have no significant impact on the water level in Angat Dam. The dam in Bulacan supplies 96 percent of Metro Manila’s water demand.
Ruiz said another tropical cyclone may develop next week but there’s no assurance that this would bring rains near Angat. He also said cloud seeding is not necessary at this point, while Maynilad Chief Operating Officer Randolph Estrellado said they would study this option as he assured that their customers would not experience water interruptions beyond 24 hours.
Worse than 2018?
Estrellado said the gravity of interruptions next year may be similar to what most Metro Manila experienced in July. If Angat’s water supply continues to decrease and the water allocation for them drops to 36 cubic meters per second (CMS) from the current 40, the interruptions would be worse.
“Ngayon pa lang inuumpisahan na natin ‘yung rotational supply para talagang umabot siya hanggang sa susunod na tag-ulan,” Estrellado said in an interview.
(As early as now we are implementing rotational interruptions so the water supply could last until the next rainy season.)
“Sa estimate namin nga, ‘yung mga 12 hours na nawawalan baka magdoble ‘yung number nila kung umabot tayo sa 36 cms,” he added.
(Based on our estimates, if the water allocation drops to 36 cms, the number of households affected by 12-hour water interruptions may double.)
The Maynilad official said that as of now, 30 percent of their customers experience 12 hours of water interruptions, 40 percent face between six to 12 hours, and 30 percent are not affected.
As of Wednesday, 6:00 a.m., Angat Dam’s water level was at 188.34 meters which is 21.66 meters below its 210-meter normal high water level.
Both concessionaires said they are taking steps to mitigate the effects of low water supply. /jpv
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