Metro Manila may face water crisis next summer

by Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2014 02:55 PM | Updated as of Aug 19 2014 03:25 AM

MANILA, Philippines - In addition to a power crisis, Metro Manila may also face a water shortage in the summer of 2015. This if the water levels at the Angat Dam do not go up by year-end.

Water level at the Angat Dam, which supplies Maynilad and Manila Water, remained at 178.46 meters as of Monday.

In the same period last year, the level was at 192.98 meters.

Angat's water level must reach at least 210 meters to prevent supply problems in the summer of 2015.

Maynilad Water Services, west zone concessionaire, is considering water rationing early next year should a moderate El Niño weather phenomenon hit the country in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Newspaper reports quoted Maynilad chief financial officer Randolph Estrellado as saying: "The worst case is that we will have El Niño, and we end the year below the 200 meters above sea level."

Estrellado said some Maynilad customers may not get 24 hours of service, while others may experience a decline in water pressure. Water rationing could last until summer, although this would depend on the effects of El Niño.

East zone concessionaire Manila Water, for its part, is also preparing to do measures to lessen the impact on consumers. Among its efforts are renewed information campaign to save on water use.

Metro Manila has an allocation of 4 billion liters of water from Angat daily.

Manila Water spokesman Jeric Sevilla said the contingency measures include preparing its treatment plants, line boosters and reservoirs to become more efficient.

Leaks can be reported to 1627 to save on water supply.

Once allocation is reduced, pressure in several areas might be affected or some areas with 24-hour water supply will encounter limited time of water flow.

Sevilla said at the current allocation of 42 cubic meters per second, no service change would happen as consumers still enjoy 24/7 water supply. Even if the allocation is reduced to 39 cubic meters per second, Manila Water assured there will still be water supply.

Sevilla said consumers must imbibe conservation measures since it doesn't mean that during the rainy season, all the rain water goes to the dam. There is still more than a month left before the onset of the moderate El Niño that Pagasa had earlier projected.

Maynilad said there is a possibility of water rationing in the summer 2015 if the water level in Angat Dam does not reach the desired level by year-end.

Maynilad spokesperson Cherubim Ocampo said water pressure in several areas will be less while others will have tight supply if the water level in Angat does not return to normal.

That's why Maynilad said consumers must ensure that their pipes are leak-free and use water judiciously. The company also appealed to consumers to report pilferage and illegal connections to reduce d current system loss of 34 percent.

Maynilad is readying measures as early as now so as to prevent service disruption.