No laundry, no rebond: As water taps run dry, businesses lose income

Michael Joe Delizo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2019 08:03 PM | Updated as of Mar 13 2019 08:14 AM

Washing machines at a laundry shop in Mandaluyong City are idling as the industry, along with other businesses, is bracing a massive water shortage. Michael Delizo, ABS-CBN News

MANDALUYONG CITY — Washing machines are silent and empty. A pile of laundry is on the floor, untouched. 

Employees of a laundromat in Mandaluyong City are only busy with their chitchats while watching a noon-time television show. 

This has been scenario for 4 days now, as the city and other parts of the Philippine capital are crippled by low water supply due to the decline of the water level of Manila Water’s major reservoir, La Mesa Dam.

“Malaking lugi na sa boss namin. Then sa amin, hindi kami sanay nang walang ginagawa,” Syabon Dama laundry attendant Jen Mendoza said. 

The laundromat gets by, its staff transporting their customers' laundry to faraway Malate branch. 

“Mahirap talaga. Ito, laundry ’to. More on water ’yung ginagamit namin,” Mendoza said.
 

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At a salon nearby, idle employees could only do haircuts, while still conserving the purified water in their spray bottles. Low water supply meant no shampoo, rebond, hair color, and foot spa services.

Some eateries were meanwhile using disposable plates and utensils or wrap their plates with plastic. This raises prices by P1 to P2 per serving at some eateries.

Their disposable waste, however, adds up to the over 1,200 cubic meters daily garbage collection in Mandaluyong since the water shortage started on March 7, according to city’s environmental management department head Emmanuel “Sonny” Oblea. 

Even huge businesses have the same difficulty.

Many comfort rooms are closed at SM Megamall due to water interruption. Michael Delizo, ABS-CBN News

At SM Megamall, some facilities are unavailable, including a number of comfort rooms, “in line with Manila Water’s scheduled service interruption,” an advisory stated.

The unavailability of water at Climb Central Manila had some people go out of the gym all chalked up.

Tenants of EDSA Central Mall are only given water supply for an hour for breakfast, lunch and dinner for quick washing and other janitorial activities.

Manila Water on Tuesday said it could not set a date on when services will resume for the 52,000 households affected by the latest water outage. 

Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) administrator Reynaldo Velasco earlier said the Maynilad and Manila Water have agreed to share resources to address the water shortage.

By month-end, Manila Water was expected to activate its water treatment plant in Cardona, Rizal, which can provide another supply source.

- With reports from Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News