Dam water deemed sufficient until May or June

Dam water deemed sufficient until May or June

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) expects the water supply at Angat Dam and other reservoirs to be sufficient until May or June.

“From our calculations the amount of water that we have from Angat and from sources would be good for all our supply until around May or June of 2024,” Environment Undersecretary Carlos Primo C. David said at a briefing late Monday.

Angat Dam supplies about 90% of Metro Manila’s potable water. On Friday, the dam filled to its maximum level, triggering the opening of its spill gates.

“Angat… is fairly full. We’re trying to keep it that way so that once we enter 2024, it’s at maximum volume,” Mr. David added.

He said that if the El Niño phenomenon intensifies or extends beyond June, “then it will be a major problem for Metro Manila; that’s why conservation is important.”

The government weather service, known as PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration), has forecast an El Niño lasting until the second quarter with about 65 provinces facing “severe” drought and six provinces potentially experiencing dry spells during the period.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., last week, ordered the restructuring of the El Niño task force which has been assigned to create programs to mitigate the impact of El Niño, with the DENR placed in charge of water resources.

“Conservation will be an important strategy in the first and second quarter of 2024,” he added.

Mr. David said that if El Niño intensifies next year, then the Metro Manila water crisis might be as bad as 2019’s.

“We should be better in terms of forecasting, better in terms of managing our resources,” he added.

Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said water concessionaires Manila Water Co., Inc. (Manila Water) and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad) have been seeking to tap more sources of water.

“Companies in Metro Manila… have really stepped-up efforts in terms of what they are able to provide by way of clean and accessible potable water,” Ms. Yulo-Loyzaga added.

Asked to comment, both Manila Water and Maynilad said that they have implemented programs to ensure sufficient water for the capital region.

“With these projects and the support of the public in the advocacy on responsible use of water, we hope that we will be able to weather the challenges of El Niño next year to continue to provide 24/7 supply to our customers in the East Zone and reduce the dependency on Angat,” Manila Water Corporate Communications Affairs Group Director Nestor Jeric T. Sevilla, Jr. said in a Viber message.

Maynilad Corporate Communications Head Jennifer C. Rufo said in a Viber message that the company has carried out a supply augmentation program which includes the tapping of alternate sources and the minimization of water losses.

“The effort to increase stored water in Angat Dam before the year ends is also an added measure being pursued by (Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System) with support from (National Water Resources Board),” Ms. Rufo added.

The DENR has offered 135 water projects for private sector investment to raise the supply of potable water. — Adrian H. Halili