No MM water quota reduction yet

By Catherine Teves

March 23, 2019, 4:23 pm

MANILA -- Metro Manila may still receive its full share of water heading into April and May – the warmest months in this area -- amid the drought-driving El Niño phenomenon's continuing onslaught.

National Water Resources Board (NWRB) executive director, Dr. Sevillo David Jr., said they will retain the prevailing above-normal allocation of Angat Dam water for Metro Manila until the rainy season's expected onset this June.

"I think that dam can continue providing (the same) water (allocation)," David said.

Retaining Angat's March 2019 water allocation of 48 cubic meters per second (cms) will help meet Metro Manila's water needs, he said.

He noted that Angat's prevailing allocation is higher than the 46 cms NWRB normally allocates for Metro Manila this time of the year.

Data from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) show that Angat Dam's reserve is dipping further as it continues to supply water to Metro Manila, as well as for irrigation.

Angat's 6 a.m. water level reached 196.70 meters on Friday, according to PAGASA hydrologist Richard Orendain.

"That dam can still very well provide Metro Manila with water up to June at 48 cms," he said on the sidelines of a forum in Quezon City.  

Orendain said Angat Dam will supply less water for irrigation as harvest time in April nears.

Angat will not release irrigation water until May when land preparation activities begin for the next cropping season, he continued.

"Water saved while Angat is not irrigating can be used for Metro Manila," he noted. 

Despite the El Niño, he said some rainfall can already be expected by May.

That means there's opportunity for Angat Dam's reserve to increase again so it can continue supplying Metro Manila after June, he said.

PAGASA is urging Angat Dam water users to practice water conservation so its water would be available for a longer period.

Ensuring longer availability is important as PAGASA said there may be a slight delay in the onset of this year's rainy season due to the El Niño.

The rainy season normally commences either late May or early June, noted PAGASA. (PNA