Ambo prompts higher water supply in Metro Manila

Prinz Magtulis - Philstar.com
Ambo prompts higher water supply in Metro Manila
Angat Dam is the main water source of Metro Manila.

MANILA, Philippines — Water regulators increased supply to Metro Manila and some neighboring areas on Wednesday as the risks of a repeat of last year’s shortages slowly diminishes with rains from typhoon Ambo.

From 46 cubic meters per second, Manila Water Company Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. now have a supply of 48 cms while the enhanced community quarantine remains in effect in Metro Manila until May 31.

“This is an initiative of MWSS for the additional allocation to improve our services in support to government efforts against COVID-19 (coronavirus disease-2019),” said Emmanuel Salamat, administrator at the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

The additional water supply, approved by the National Water Resources Board, ensures round-the-clock water in taps in the National Capital Region and some areas in Cavite and Rizal serviced by the two concessionaries. 

For Salamat, it also removes concerns water supply in the Metro will fall short anew, similar to the shortages experienced in the dry months of 2019 that prompted rotational interruptions to last until December.

Until now, the government already projected water shortages to resume as demand spiked during intense heat brought by the dry season. Before March ended, President Duterte himself issued Administrative Order No. 24 that instructed state agencies and companies to save up water to "avert a looming water crisis."

That expectation apparently did not happen, and Salamat said water in Angat Dam, which accounts for 98% of supply in Metro Manila, would benefit from rains brought by typhoon Ambo that made landfall on Eastern Samar on Thursday afternoon. 

“We have upcoming rain anyway. (Typhoon) Ambo is coming so hope it will fill up Angat Dam,” he said in a text message.

To control the spread of the coronavirus, Metro Manila, Cebu City and Laguna will remain under ECQ until the month's end. However, starting March 16, current restrictions will be "modified" to allow some essential businesses to operate, and some more people to move, following social distancing measures.

As of Thursday, 6 a.m., water level in Angat was recorded at 187.73 meters, down slightly from 187.97 meters the previous day. However, the current water in the dam stood way above the 174.35 meters posted in the same day last year.

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