Water shortage looms in Metro Manila as Angat Dam nears critical level

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Metro Manila may soon experience water supply reduction, through either lower pressure or rotational interruption, due to the continuing dip in reserve of Angat Dam, its main water source.

National Water Resources Board (NWRB) Exec. Dir. Dr. Sevillo David Jr. said these measures are possible management strategies to help ensure that water supply from the dam will be available for Metro Manila for a longer period.

“We want to ensure water for Metro Manila,” he said Friday.

This as the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) reported that Angat Dam’s water level dropped to 163.12 meters as of 6 a.m. Saturday, from 163.66 meters on Friday morning.

Angat’s water level has been dipping by about 0.40 meters daily, David noted.

If this goes on without rains over the watershed hosting the dam, he said its reserve may hit 160 meters next week.

“In case that happens, we will implement operational adjustments to manage supply of Angat water,” he said.

The NWRB is already discussing the matter with Metropolitan Manila Waterworks System (MWSS) and its private water concessionaires, Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Company Inc., he noted.

These firms will be able to determine until when Metro Manila will experience rotational water interruption if implemented, he said.

David said energizing MWSS deep wells is a measure the government has been doing amidst dipping reserve in Angat Dam to help address Metro Manila’s water needs.

He said the government has been conducting cloud seeding over Angat as well to help generate rain that will fill up the dam.

For June 2019, the NWRB likewise set Angat Dam’s water allocation for Metro Manila at 46 cubic meters per second (cms).

The allocation is lower than the 48 cms NWRB set for the purpose last month when Metro Manila’s demand for water was higher due to hot weather.

Earlier, PAGASA hydrologist Richard Orendain said such allocation reduction, expected rain over Angat amid the rainy season, and non-release of irrigation water from the dam this June will contribute to the rise in the facility’s water level.

He forecast Angat’s water level to rise and reach an elevation of about 172 meters by end of June.

The NWRB official, meanwhile, appealed anew to the public to conserve water.

“We’re appealing for everyone to use water wisely,” he said.

He added conservation will help extend availability of Angat water.

On Friday, PAGASA announced the onset of the country’s rainy season.

With this, David urged Metro Manila residents to take advantage of the rainy season by storing rainwater in their homes.

He said they can use rainwater for gardening and cleaning of toilets and garages, which all do not require the use of potable water. (PNA)