NWRB: Water cuts loom in April, May

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
NWRB: Water cuts loom in April, May
At least 1.5 million households previously experienced water interruptions of 14 to 16 hours amid the low water level of Angat Dam.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — There will be rotating water interruptions in Metro Manila in April and May, according to the National Water Resources Board.

NWRB policy and program division chief Susan Abaño said yesterday that while the allocation will remain at 50 cubic meters per second in March, the board will bring it down to 48 CMS and 46 CMS, respectively, in April and May.

In a radio interview, Abaño said while the NWRB approved the request of the Metropolitan Water Works and Sewerage and System (MWSS) to maintain the 50 CMS water allotment for Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water in March, the NWRB cannot sustain it amid the decline in the elevation of Angat Dam, which needs a minimum operating level of 180 meters.

“The water allocation given (to water concessionaires.) was based on the simulation of rainfall data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration,” Abaño said.

As of 6 a.m. yesterday, the water elevation of Angat Dam was at 206.11 meters or 0.24 meters lower compared to its previous level of 206.35 meters. It was 8.33 meters below its normal high water elevation of 212 meters.

Angat Dam supplies more than 90 percent of Metro Manila’s potable water needs and provides for the irrigation needs of 25,000 hectares of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga.

According to Abaño, the water allocation for domestic use in April will be decreased by two CMS or to 48 CMS from the current 50 CMS, while the allotment for the National Irrigation Administration will be 34 CMS.

In May, it will further decrease by two CMS or 46 CMS for potable water and 23 CMS for irrigation.

“We experienced water shortage in 2019 and we do not want this to happen again. The Technical Working Group  regularly meets to discuss the strategies in case we do not have rainfall this March, April until May,” she added.

At the same time, Abaño asked the public to continue to conserve water to help preserve the elevation of Angat Dam.

She said government agencies are also required to switch off at night the main source of water in their respective offices.

She said that operators of golf courses are also encouraged to recycle water.

“Golf courses have ponds that they can use to restore used water and can be used to water the grass,” she added.

At least 1.5 million households previously experienced water interruptions of 14 to 16 hours amid the low water level of Angat Dam.

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