Water is one of our body's basic need to survive, it is essential for our daily living, not only for our food and drinks but also for sanitation. For these reasons why we need a clean and stable water supply.
With the severe water shortage that struck Metro Manila last year, many have been worried and wondered what happened to the water concessionaires that are supposed to be maintaining the water supply in Metro Manila.
To explain things further, Maynilad Water Services, Inc. won the bidding by the government to supply water for the West Zone of the Greater Manila Area, while Manila Water is the one supplying for the East Zone.
In line with this, I had the opportunity to know where and how the water that is flowing in our faucets is sourced and processed before we can utilize it. To start our trip, we went directly to the source, Angat Dam.
The Angat Dam is a multipurpose dam located in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Managed by Angat Hydropower Corporation (AHC), it is used for power generation, for irrigation through the National Irrigation Authority (NIA) and domestic water supply through the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).
During the introduction and our trip to the dam, I was able to have a clearer knowledge of what exactly happens on the water that is reserved in the Angat Dam.
The water supply that is provided to the two water concessionaires is mainly coming from Angat Dam. The then raw water from the dam flows downward to the much smaller Ipo Dam and, eventually, to the Novaliches Portal where the water is divided between the two private water concessionaires of the MWSS. About 91% of Maynilad's raw water supply comes from Angat Dam, so if the water supply from the dam is on a critical level it will also affect the water supply that we are getting on our homes.
The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) is the government agency responsible for determining the allocation of raw water supply from Angat Dam to Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and National Irrigation Administration (NIA) The normal allocation for MWSS is 48 cubic meter per second (cms). This water supply is shared among residents in the Metro Manila area, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan.
Though at present, the water level in Angat Dam is above minimum operating level, NWRB will still retain reduced water allocation for MWSS to ensure that there will still be enough water by the time the summer arrives.
I realized that we have been experiencing rotational water interruptions since June 2019 because the water companies are receiving less than its usual raw water allocation which is coming from the dam. As a result, they are forced to implement daily rotational water service interruptions.
According to Maynilad, the implementation of the reduced raw water allocation by NWRB is being done as part of the preparation for the dry months – this is to ensure that there is still water that we can use during those months because we don’t expect much rains to increase the water level in Angat Dam.
We all know that these rotational water service interruptions are an inconvenience on our end, but this is needed to ensure that all consumers will have the opportunity to store water, and the duration of service interruption per area is also dependent on the hydraulic configuration of the pipelines. This explains why some areas are experiencing longer or shorter service interruptions owing to their location.
As the summer season approaches, Maynilad is implementing mitigating measures to ease the impact of the reduced allocation:
· Optimizing its Putatan Water Treatment Plant 1 (PWTP 1), which gets raw water from Laguna Lake
· Commissioning of PWTP 2, which now adds another 150 million liters per day of water from Laguna Lake.
· Reactivating deep wells
· Sustaining reduction of water losses
· Purchasing modular treatment plants that will tap rivers in Cavite
· Deploying mobile water tankers and stationary water tanks
· Conducting cloud-seeding operations
But these are just short-term solutions and will not address the gap, Ultimately, the solution is to develop an additional raw water source, one of the same scales as the Angat dam. The government through MWSS has lined up several prospective sources and is working to fast -track their development to ensure long-term water security and reliability for water consumers in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
So instead of getting mad, Let’s be calm and do our part in conserving water. Every drop count, so if we can save four liters of water per day from the 15 million fellow Filipinos, we can collectively save 60 million liters per day, and that would go a long way to lessen the water supply problems that we are experiencing.
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