MANILA (UPDATE) — Weaker than expected rains this month prevented authorities from raising the water supply allocation in Metro Manila, which spawned a rotational water interruption later this week, regulators said.
Angat Dam, the region's main water source, was at 186.23 meters as of 6 a.m., down from about 191 meters in the last week of September, said National Water Resources Board (NWRB) Executive Director Sevillo David Jr.
The dam's declining level prompted regulators to slash the water supply allocation in Metro Manila to 40 cubic meters per second from the regular 46 m³/s, he said.
"Nagdesisyon po ang NWRB na panatilihin ang kasalukuyang alokasyon ng Metro Manila water supply," David told radio DZMM.
"Gusto ho nating mapangalagaan... po iyong supply natin ngayong taon hanggang sa susunod na taon po, lalo na iyong summer," he added.
(The NWRB Decided to maintain the current allocation for Metro Manila water supply. We want to take care of our supply for this year until the next, especially in the summer.)
Water supply will be cut in parts of Metro Manila for up to 18 hours starting Thursday, concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water earlier warned.
Last March, taps ran dry in about a million households in Metro Manila as the Angat Dam breached its critical level.
This week's service outage will not be as bad as last summer, when Metro Manila's water allocation dipped below 40 m³/s, said David.
"Kung ima-manage nang maayos ang distribution, tingin po natin, magkakaroon po ng tubig ang mga kababayan natin kahit papaano," he said.
(If the distribution will be managed properly, we think that the public will still get water somehow.)
NO END IN SIGHT FOR NOW
The rotational service interruption will continue until the Angat Dam's level rises and Metro Manila's water allocation stays at 40 m³/s, said Maynilad media relations assistant manager Grace Laxa.
"Hanggang kung kailan, hindi pa po natin alam," she told DZMM.
(We still don't know until when this will be.)
Manila Water meanwhile will schedule the outage in the evening to give consumers enough time to store water, said its corporate communications head, Jeric Sevilla.
For a schedule of supply outages, Maynilad consumers can consult the firm's website and social media pages while Manila Water consumers can call hotline 1627, said Laxa and Sevilla.
They also urged consumers to store water enough only for a day's need, they both said, adding that water tankers will be on standby in areas hit by the service interruption.
The amihan or northeast monsoon is expected to bring rains over the eastern section of the country starting November, which may help ease Angat Dam's level, said David.