Water managers hope on rain to boost supply
Water service interruptions in Metro Manila could be shortened if the rainfall forecast for this month materializes, an official of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said on Thursday.
Speaking at the Laging Handa public briefing, engineer Patrick Dizon, MWSS division manager for the Angat-Ipo operations, said the rainfall expected this month will slow down the water level drop at Angat Dam, which supplies about 90 percent of raw water requirements of Metro Manila.
“As of now, the watershed experienced rainfall overnight so it has slightly slowed down the drop in the water elevation at Angat reservoir,” he said, adding that this was related to the slight increase of inflow water at Ipo Dam, which is connected to Angat.
Dizon said the interagency technical working group (TWG) for Angat and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) are projecting two to four storms this month in the Angat watershed, adding the Angat reservoir is usually replenished by monsoon-induced rainfall occurring around July up to September.
Taking into account the expected rainfall this month, Dizon said “historical data” from the TWG and Pagasa indicate that the lowest elevation at the dam would just be 175 to 176 meters, which is still higher than the 160-meter critical level.
Nevertheless, should the water level drop precariously, the MWSS and other TWG member agencies, such as the National Water Resources Board and National Irrigation Authority already have in place various preparations on water sourcing and allocation, he added.
He said the agencies are working together to manage rainwater streaming from the watershed to the dams and shorten water service interruptions in the metropolis.
“Our promise is that if we will experience rains in our watershed, we will maximize [the use of water] and we can use this in reducing the number of hours of water service interruptions,” Dizon said.
The MWSS also continues to monitor the adaptation and mitigating measures undertaken by the two water concessionaires in Metro Manila amid the low supply of and high demand for water.
He said all water consumers would practice water conservation to lessen the overall impact of the El Niño weather phenomenon that is expected to last until the second quarter of next year.
Meanwhile, the low pressure area (LPA) near southern Luzon is expected to develop into a tropical depression by the weekend, the state weather bureau said on Thursday.
Once it becomes a tropical cyclone, it will be named “Dodong.”According to Pagasa, the weather disturbance was last seen 160 kilometers east-northeast of Infanta, Quezon.
The combined effects of the LPA and the southwest monsoon or “habagat” will bring rains over parts of the country until the weekend.
Pagasa said that heavy rains may prevail over Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan from Friday to Saturday.
Rains are also expected on Friday over Cagayan, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, Batanes, Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Zambales, Bataan, Occidental Mindoro, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Northern Palawan.