Water supply cuts on hold; MWSS cites ‘rain dance’
MANILA, Philippines — The deities of the Dumagat-Remontado ethnic community must be smiling on Maynilad Water Services Inc. as the company will suspend until today, July 16, the planned supply interruptions in its concession area that are supposed to last as long as 11 hours and affect over half a million customers.
“The rains over Ipo Dam watershed brought by Tropical Depression Dodong have been mitigating the effect of lower releases from Angat Dam,” Maynilad said in an advisory on Saturday, a relief for consumers, particularly in parts of Caloocan, Malabon, Manila, Valenzuela, Navotas and Quezon City.
On July 12, Maynilad started cutting supply due to the decreasing water level at Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan, amid the dry spell attributed to the El Niño weather phenomenon.
About 591,000 customers have been affected by the service interruptions.
Maynilad’s announcement suspending the supply cuts came after the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said the “rain dance” performed by some 16 members of the Dumagat-Remontado community in the Angat area appeared to have worked.
Call to ‘ancestors’
“I’m happy to say that I believe that the ancestors heard our indigenous group after they performed a rain dance on Monday,” MWSS administrator Leonor Cleofas said in a radio interview on Thursday.
In a social media post, the MWSS said a group of Dumagat-Remontado villagers performed a rain dance near Angat Dam last week for the replenishment of its reservoir, which supplies about 95 percent of Metro Manila’s potable water.
“This ritual holds deep spiritual significance for the indigenous community, marked by prayers to natural spirits and to their supreme deity, Makadepat, forming the core of the ceremony,” the MWSS added.
This was not the first time that the Dumagat-Remontado had been asked to perform a rain dance, along with other rituals, to induce rain for Angat. Such rites were also done last year.
With El Niño’s return this year, the National Water Resources Board recently reduced its raw water allocation to the MWSS to 48 cubic meters per second from 52 CMS. This was after the water mark at Angat Dam dropped below the minimum operating level of 180 meters.
Water from Angat is split between Maynilad and Manila Water Co. Inc., with Maynilad getting a bigger share owing to its bigger customer base and proximity to the dam. So far, Manila Water continues to deliver normal supply.
But with or without factoring in the rain dance, some parts of Luzon experienced heavy rains late last week due to a low pressure area and Tropical Storm “Dodong.”
The downpour slightly improved Angat’s water level to 178.48 m on Saturday from 178.02 m on Friday, according to the state weather bureau Pagasa.