Angat Dam is the main water source of Metro Manila.
Angat Dam may be back to 'operational state' by September
( - June 24, 2019 - 5:17pm

MANILA, Philippines —It would take approximately three months for Angat Dam—Metro Manila’s main water source—to return to its operational state, state weather bureau PAGASA said Monday.

In a press briefing, Junie Ruiz from PAGASA’s Climate Monitoring Prediction section said Angat Dam could reach its minimum operational level—or the rate it can comfortably cover the region's needs—of 180 meters by September.

“For the dam to recover, [it will take more than] one month. Maybe around three months or more,” Ruiz said in a mix of English and Filipino.

According to PAGASA's projections, water elevation at the reservoir in Norzagaray, Bulacan will start recovering by the end of July as more rains are expected next month.

July, August and September are normally the wettest months of the year.

'Critical' level breached

As of early Monday morning, the dam’s water level was down to 159.09 meters. It breached the 160-meter critical level over the weekend.

Sevillo David, executive director of the National Water Resources Board, said Angat Dam could breach its lowest mark by the end of the week if insufficient rainfall is received in the reservoir. The dam registered its lowest level at 157.57 meters in July 2010.

Water allocation for Metro Manila water concessionaires was slashed to 36 cubic meters per second from 40 cms last Saturday, prompting Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water to update the schedules of rotational water service interruptions in their concession areas to maximize the limited supply.

Strong storms needed

In an interview on CNN Philippines, state hydrologist Elmer Caringal said the Angat Dam needs to be hit by three to four tropical cyclones for the water level in the reservoir to return to the normal level.

“‘Yung dalawang bagyo dun lang ‘yun sa 180 [meters] operational level ng Angat Dam. Kapag gusto natin ay 210 [meters] normal high ng Angat Dam, kailangan ng tatlo hanggang apat na bagyo,” Caringal said.

(Two storms need to hit Angat Dam for it to reach the 180-meter operational level. If we want to reach the 210-meter normal high of Angat, we need three to four tropical cyclones.)

Earlier this month, PAGASA declared the start of the rainy season. But rains that recently showered Metro Manila and nearby areas were not enough to increase the water level in Angat Dam.

The prevailing weak El Niño, which triggered drought and dry spells in parts of the country in the past months, is likely to last up to November this year. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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