NWRB chief says enough water in Angat Dam for entire summer
MANILA, Philippines – There appears to be enough water in Angat Dam — Metro Manila and its nearby provinces’ primary source of freshwater — throughout the summer season, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) head said on Monday.
NWRB Executive Director Dr. Sevillo David Jr. explained that Angat Dam’s current level is at least four meters higher than last year’s level when water shortage hit Metro Manila’s concession areas.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) dam monitoring information, Angat Dam’s water level was at 193.15 meters, at least 18 meters shy of the normal high water level.
“Medyo mataas po ito kumpara natin siya no’ng isang taon na nagkaroon tayo ng El Niño at matinding kakulangan sa tubig, ay halos apat na metro po ang kataasan nitong kasalukuyang lebel niya kumpara po no’ng isang taon,” David said in an interview with DZMM.
(This is partly higher compared to water levels last year, when we experienced El Niño and a strong water shortage, this year’s water levels are higher by almost four meters compared to last year.)
“Kaya ibig pong sabihin nito sa tingin po natin itong panahon ng tag-init ay may sapat po tayong supply ng tubig para po sa kababayan natin, hanggang bago mag tag-ulan,” he added.
(This means that we believe that we can supply enough water to our countrymen for this summer season before the rainy season arrives.)
NWRB suspended its allocation for irrigation for farms after rains were hard to come by even after Pagasa declared the start of the rainy season last June 2019.
David said that part of the high water levels was because of the low water use in various commercial establishments, after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) due to the COVID-19 pandemic suspended public gatherings and work, except for those in frontline services like health care provision.
However, he also noted that the ECQ, which forced the public to stay at home, coupled with the health authorities’ request for frequent handwashing, has also increased water consumption within households and hospitals.
“Sa ngayon po kasi dahil isa ring bagay ‘yon kasi medyo mabagal (‘yong water consumption) dahil nga ‘yon pong nagslowdown ‘yong mga commercial establishments,” David explained.
(That’s one thing as of now because water consumption has been slower due to the slowdown of commercial establishments.)
“Pero tumaas din po ang paggamit sa mga kabahayan kasi nga po itong pangamba ng COVID-19, ay isa po kasing importanteng bagay ‘yong tubig para po mapigil ‘yong pagpapalawak nitong epekto ng COVID-19, kasi nga ‘yong paghuhugas ng mga kamay, ‘yong sanitation po eh madalas ginagawa ‘yan,” he added.
(But water usage also increased within households because the threat of COVID-19 has necessitated the use of water for handwashing and sanitation purposes to prevent the spread of the disease.)
As of now, Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon are still under the ECQ due to the rising COVID-19 cases. Department of Health officials said that nationwide, there are 4,932 infected patients — 315 of which have already died while at least 242 have recovered.
Worldwide, over 1.8 million individuals have been infected, while 114,063 have died from the disease and 421,500 have recovered from it.
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