More augmentation sources eyed as Angat Dam water level dips

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

July 5, 2023, 8:30 pm

<p>NWRB executive director Sevillo David Jr. <em>(File photo)</em></p>

NWRB executive director Sevillo David Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) is coordinating with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to strengthen supply augmentation measures as Angat dam nears its critical level of 180 meters.

During the Laging Handa public briefing on Wednesday, NWRB executive director Dr. Sevillo David Jr. said the water agencies are looking at boosting the operations of water treatment facilities and deep wells as alternative sources to Angat Dam to augment water supply.

"At sa ngayon po, ang isa po nating tinitingnan din dito, ano iyong puwedeng mapagkunan ng tubig, huwag po sa Angat Dam lang (Currently, one of the things that we are looking at are alternative sources to Angat Dam)," David said.

Angat Dam provides 97 percent of Metro Manila’s water supply. The water level in the dam hit 181.22 meters as of July 5.

David, however, said there is no adjustment made yet for the water allocation but possible changes could be made once the water elevation at the dam dips below the critical 180-meter mark, particularly cuts in the allocation for irrigation and power supply generation.

David said the priority would be to ensure continuous water supply for domestic use of Metro Manila residents.

"Kapag bumaba po iyong level ng dam, ang epekto po nito ay mababawasan po iyong kapasidad ng mga dams natin na maka-generate po ng power lalo po kapag bumaba po iyong mga releases para po sa irigasyon (If the water level of the dam drops, the effect would be the reduction in the capacity of dams to generate power, as well as the reduction of releases for irrigation)," he said.

David said he is expecting the months of July to September, which are considered the peak of southwest monsoon or habagat season, to replenish the supply in Angat Dam.

The NWRB implemented a two cubic meters per second (cms) cut in the water allocation for Maynilad and Manila Water for July.

According to NWRB, the 50 cms allocation comes as a concerted effort to minimize water interruptions while MWSS continues its raw water recovery from its pipeline and conveyance system repairs, utilization of their water treatment plants, and ensure water availability for El Niño.


Water conservation

In the same public briefing, League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) national chairman, Quirino Governor Dakila Cua, said local government units (LGUs) are raising public awareness on how to conserve water considering the limited resources.

He also cited the intensified intervention and information campaign of the LGUs amid the official onset of El Niño.

"Kami ay tumitingin na at tumutugon at nagpo-focus sa (We are looking, responding and focusing into the) proper and efficient delivery of water resources, the management thereof, and the preservation of our limited water resources as well," he said.

Cua said the local governments are also exploring the use of new technology to identify efficient water distribution.

He assured that the LPP is in close coordination with the Department of Agriculture and the National Irrigation Administration to assist farmers who will be possibly affected by the water allocation cut.

Cua said among the highly affected areas are the agricultural provinces. (with reports from Stephanie Sevillano/PNA)