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Lower water allocation set for Metro Manila next month

MANILA, Philippines, May 26 ------ The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) will further cut the water allocation for Metro Manila starting on June 1 by one cubic meter per second or from 49 cms to 48 cms as the elevation of Angat Dam is now below its minimum operating level of 180 meters, a Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) official said. 


Undersecretary Carlos David assured the public that there would be no water interruption despite the reduction in the allotment for domestic supply after the two water concessionaires, Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water, committed to find alternative sources to fill in the gap of one cms. “Based on the computation we made with Manila Water and Maynilad on how much they need to conserve, for Maynilad it needs to conserve .6 cms and for Manila Water, which is less dependent on Angat, it’s .4 cms. All in all, it will translate to one cms that they need to conserve,” David said in a radio interview. 


The NWRB, which manages the operation of Angat Dam, is an attached agency of the DENR. The water elevation of Angat Dam dropped by 0.39 meters to 179.68 meters from its previous level of 180.07 meters. The dam was .32 meters below its minimum operating level of 180 meters. “For the last five years, we’ve breached this level (below minimum operating level) three times so we can consider this as one of the lowest from the recent years,” David added. 


According to David, the water elevation of Angat Dam could reach as low as 170 meters before it finally recovers with the expected rains in July. David said that the below minimum operating level of Angat Dam would mean a cut in the water allocation for irrigation from the current 12 cms to six cms. “We will now prioritize domestic water supply and we will decrease the water supply for irrigation for Bulacan and Pampanga starting today (Thursday). Coming from 12 cms to six cms, hopefully, farmers do not need water as the harvest season is finally over,” he added. 


According to David, Maynilad and Manila Water will continue to borrow from the National Irrigation Administration after the latter agreed to lend three cms starting May 16. David said that based on the trend of Angat Dam, its daily reduction is pegged at .40 meters. “The average daily reduction is .40 meters. If we have 10 days, more or less it is equivalent to four meters so the water level of Angat will reach 176 in four days. We hope that the drop in its elevation will slow down to .25 meters to .30 meters with the decrease in the consumption in the domestic use in June,” he said. According to David, the highest consumption of water was recorded in the month of May. “Hopefully by June, we will have cloudy conditions and rains. There is no need to water the plants and therefore, I think we will be okay,” he added. 


David said the one cms reduction in the allocation for the domestic supply is equivalent to two percent of the total water requirement in Metro Manila. Angat Dam supplies more than 90 percent of Metro Manila’s potable water needs and provides for the irrigation needs of 25,000 hectares of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga. 




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