Water shortage threat in Metro Manila remains

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 02 2014 05:47 PM | Updated as of Sep 03 2014 01:47 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The threat of a water shortage remains in Metro Manila despite the increased elevation at the Angat Dam.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) said the 182.53 meter level of Angat Dam as of 12 noon Tuesday is not yet a comfortable figure.

According to MWSS deputy administrator Atty. Nathaniel Santos, the level should be at 190 to 200 meters at this time of the year.

Maynilad, for its part, also said the threat of a water shortage remains.

Maynilad spokesperson Cherubim Ocampo explained that the company will be confident that the threat is gone if and when the water level reaches 210 meters by yearend.

The need for another dam

The MWSS said the publication to prequalify bids for a new dam—the P24 billion Kaliwa Dam in Rizal-Quezon—will be done by the third week of September.

But Santos could not yet say whether the concessionaires and their partners are allowed to bid for the project.

While the cost of the project will eventually be passed on to consumers, Santos assured that the charges will only be implemented when the project has already started.

"’Yung tariff implication will happen only when the project has begun, not before," he said.

Santos said this will prevent another incident similar to the Laiban Dam project, wherein concessionaires charged it to consumer bills but no dam was constructed.

But Santos explained that what consumers paid in a sense is already being given back in the decision of the regulatory office to lower the tariff last year.

The decision, however, was questioned by both Maynilad and Manila Water.