NWRB urged to maintain Metro Manila’s water allocation amid heat

Bella Cariaso - The Philippine Star
NWRB urged to maintain Metro Manila�s water allocation amid heat
A resident lines up his containers to collect water amidst the intense heat in Binondo, Manila on April 23, 2024.
STAR / Edd Gumban

MANILA, Philippines — The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has appealed to the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to maintain the 50 cubic meters per second (cms) water allocation for Metro Manila in May amid the high heat index being experienced in the country.

MWSS Water and Sewerage Management Department manager Patrick Dizon said members of the Angat Technical Working Group (TWG) met on Wednesday and agreed to ask the NWRB to observe a status quo in the current water allocation for Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water.

“Yes, Angat TWG recommended to maintain the water allocation for MWSS due to the high heat index, but it is still subject for approval by the NWRB board,” Dizon told The STAR yesterday.

The Angat TWG is headed by the NWRB. Aside from the MWSS, other members are the National Irrigation Administration and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

The NWRB Board is scheduled to meet today to decide on the water allocation for the National Capital Region amid the continued decline in the elevation of Angat Dam, according to Dizon.

“MWSS requested to maintain the allocation due to the forecast of PAGASA that we will be experiencing a high heat index, which is categorized as danger classification in the succeeding days,” he said.

As of 6 a.m. yesterday, the water elevation of Angat Dam was down by 0.47 meters, reaching 190.07 meters compared to its previous level of 190.54 meters.

It was 21.93 meters below its normal high water level of 212 meters, but still 10.07 meters above its minimum operating level of 180 meters.

“Based on the reservoir projection, we will not be hitting the critical level of 160 meters,” David said.

Maynilad corporate communications head Jennifer Rufo said Maynilad has implemented supply augmentation initiatives to help mitigate the impact of a possible reduction in the allocation from Angat Dam for MWSS.

“We will do all we can to avoid service disruptions resulting from a reduced allocation, but if it comes to a point where water service will be affected, we can isolate service disruptions to nighttime only despite higher demand due to the heat,” Rufo said. “Customers will be notified should this push through.”

Environment Undersecretary Carlos David has said that if the drop in the water elevation of Angat Dam is not big by April 30, a decrease of one cms would be imposed.

“But if a huge drop happens, the NWRB will be forced to implement a decrease of two cms,” David said.

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

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