Tolentino bats for Department of Water as supply crisis worsens

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 25 2019 03:35 PM

MANILA - Senator-elect Francis Tolentino on Tuesday pushed anew for the creation of a department that will solely address the country’s water needs, as the capital suffered from a supply crisis.

Tolentino said it is about time the country forms a water department that will “synchronize all the functions” of water agencies such as the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), and Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA).

“Parang pinagsama-sama mo lang, for coordination. Para isa lang ang in-charge pati ang control, operation, maintenance of dams and river systems,” Tolentino told reporters.

(You just combine them for better coordination. Only one will be in charge of the control, operation and maintenance of dams and river systems.)

The MWSS regulates Manila Water and Maynilad, which service the capital’s east and west zones, respectively. The NWRB, on the other hand, coordinates and regulates water-related activities in the entire country that has impact on the physical environment and the economy.

The LWUA, meanwhile, is a government-owned and -controlled corporation tasked to oversee the development of of water supply systems in provincial cities and towns outside Metro Manila.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia had also proposed the creation of a water department, as he blamed the supply crisis for the fragmentation of agencies handling the country’s water needs.

Senator-elect Imee Marcos also called for the revisiting of laws pertaining to the country’s management of its water supplies.

“I think it is high time to revisit all those plans and also look at the contracts of all the water concessionaires. Kung titingnan mo halos lahat ‘yan may violation (almost all of them have violations),” Marcos told reporters.

The water level at Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan, the capital’s main water source, continued to dip Tuesday, hitting the 158.77 mm mark, below the 160-meter critical level.

The low water level at Angat Dam has prompted Manila Water and Maynilad to implement rotational service interruptions.