by Chito Chavez
Contrary to public fears, Angat Dam has enough water to supply La Mesa Dam until late May when the rainy season is expected to start ensuring sufficient water supply in Metro Manila.
Hydrologist Richard Orendain of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the dam has sufficient reserves to cover the increased water supply needs in the metropolis aside from the normal allocation for irrigation and power production.
Orendain allayed the public’s grave concern of possible water supply shortage assuring that the reserve in Angat Dam can last until the end of summer.
At 6 a.m. Friday, Angat Dam’s water level was at 197.06 meters.
State hydrologists said water in Angat Dam flows to Ipo Dam, then goes to Bicti, and passes through aqueducts leading to La Mesa Dam.
La Mesa Dam’s management has reported that water in this facility is dipping fast due to increased withdrawal for Metro Manila’s use amid the prevailing hot weather.
La Mesa headworks manager Teddy Angeles said he hopes the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) could raise the facility’s water allocation from Angat Dam.
“Some six million people depend on La Mesa Dam for their water supply,” he said.
NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. said his office is still studying the La Mesa Dam management’s request for additional water allocation.
Orendain said Angat Dam is releasing water at the rate of 61 cubic meters per second (cms) for irrigation, power production, and Metro Manila’s use.
“The total allocation may be increased to 65 cms so La Mesa could get more water for Metro Manila this summer,” Orendain said.
With this data, concerned authorities may increase Angat Dam’s present supply of 46 cms for Metro Manila if needed.
“The increase in allocation may bring Angat Dam’s water to the minimum operating level (MOL) of 180 meters by early June,’’ he said.
Orendain expressed confidence on the rain-fed Angat Dam’s water prospects adding that PAGASA expects no delay in the onset of this year’s rainy season.
“The wet season will likely commence around late May so we expect Angat to receive rain and recover,” Orendain added.
The state weather bureau’s latest outlook showed almost normal rainfall at the Angat watershed from May to September this year.