Manila: Despite the onset of the rainy season, levels in dams supplying drinking water to Metro Manila and surrounding provinces remain critical as officials continue to find ways to address the situation.
As of Wednesday, Angat Dam in the province of Bulacan was at 158.40 metres, just a metre above its lowest level in 10 years. Though it has been raining daily afternoon over the past few days, the catchment areas have got little or no rain.
According to Director Sevillo David Jr. of the National Water Resources Board, the rainfall was not enough to alleviate the situation.
Water suppliers, Manila Water and Maynilad, which supply Metro Manila and its adjacent Bulacan and Cavite provinces, have cut down their daily allocation and been implementing rotational service interruptions lasting up to 20 hours in some parts.
The NWRB had reduced the water allocation for Manila Water to 36 cubic metres per second, or a total of about 300 million litres per day to service its 6.8 million customers.
Although the other smaller dam supplying water to Metro Manila, the La Mesa, was able to increase its supply, it won’t be enough to raise the level at Angat Dam.
In the meantime, the Manila Water Works and Sewerage System has lifted its moratorium on the use of deep wells to alleviate the situation.
The use of deep wells is tightly regulated by the government because it contributes to ground subsidence.
Ground subsidence is the sinking or settling of the ground surface, making the area prone to flooding.
The lack of water supply comes even as Metro Manila experienced flooding in the streets in recent days. Motorists endure hours of being stranded in the roads while waiting for floodwaters to subside.
A tropical depression “Dodong” had passed through eastern Luzon and had delivered rainfall, however, according to David, the rains did not fall over the area of Angat Dam.
Angat Dam supplies water for utilities as well as for power generation. Its generators had been shut down since several weeks ago due to the lack of water to run the turbines.
According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Metro Manila and its surrounding provinces would have to wait until August for Angat Dam level to normalise. In the meantime, Maynilad and Manila Water urged its customers to participate in efforts to reduce water consumption at household level.