Manila Water service interruption may last throughout summer

Manila Water service interruption may last throughout summer
Residents queue with their pails and other containers as fire volunteers supply water at Brgy. Barangka Drive in Mandaluyong City on Monday midnight to ease the 4-day water shortage the residents are experiencing in the area.
The STAR / Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Several areas in Metro Manila and Rizal province may experience water service interruption for the whole summer, Manila Water said Monday.

The water concessionaire earlier announced that it will be "implementing operational adjustments that may affect water service across the entire East Zone."

"Ang mangyayari po niyan 'yung water interruption po at 'yung mga low pressure ay mararanasan po natin 'yan buong tag-init," Manila Water Corporate Communications Head Jeric Sevilla Jr. told radio dzMM.

Sevilla explained that the supply of Manila Water depends on La Mesa Dam, which is now below critical level.

In a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the government is concerned about the problem of water supply. He said he would check whether government agencies are already taking steps like cloud seeding to address the problem.

Critical level is at 69 meters but La Mesa Dam is now at 68.93 meters due to the summer season and the El Niño phenomenon.

"Umaasa lang po ang ating mga dam sa ulan. 'Yan na po 'yung ating way to refill the dams dahil po tayo ay umaasa lamang for about 40 years sa iisang source — sa Angat Dam," Sevilla said.

According to Sevilla, Manila Water had already maximized its water allocation from Angat Dam, which is 1,600 million liters a day. The company has an additional source, the La Mesa Dam which is below critical level, which is about 80 to 100 million liters per day.

"Kapos po talaga tayo ng supply at nagsisimula pa lang tayo ng tag-init sa tapos may El Niño pa po. Mataas ang demand talaga so para po mapagkasya natin ito — 'yung available na supply — nagpapatupad po tayo ng mga low water or low pressure or no water across the concession area," the Manila Water official said.

Around 53,000 households in 270 barangays over the east concession, including Mandaluyong City, Pasig City, San Juan City and Quezon City have been affected by the water supply interruption.

Maynilad: Operations not affected by shortage

Maynilad, which is in charge of the west zone of Metro Manila, said its area is not affected by the water shortage.

Maynilad AVP for Corporate Communications Jennifer Rufo told radio dzMM that its operations remain normal.

"Wala pong affected sa Maynilad kasi ang Maynilad po kumukha ng raw water supply directly sa Angat Dam so dahil maayos pa po ang level ng tubig sa Angat dam at nakikita naman po ng (National Water Resources Board) na 'yung alokasyon namin ay hindi pa dapat mabawasan," Rufo said.

Rufo also noted that Maynilad is prepared in case its water supply allocation gets depleted in the coming weeks due to El Niño.

"Dinagdagan na po natin 'yung ating water reserve capacity na tinatawag. Ibig sabihin nagtayo po kami ng additional reservoir at saka pumping stations para nang sa gayon kahit mabawasan po ang tubig na maibibigay namin mula sa Angat Dam mas marami po kami kakayahan maipon na tubig," she said.

State weather bureau PAGASA earlier announed that El Niño is expected to go "full-blown" as early as end of February. This is brought about by above-average sea surface temperatures in the centreal and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.

Several provinces are forecasted to experience drought this March, including Ilocos Norte, Cebu, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindowo and Palawan. — Patricia Lourdes Viray




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