By Madelaine Miraflor
Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has vowed to solve the water supply issues hounding Metro Manila through a list of short-term and medium-term solutions to be carried out in the span of 150 days.
The government water regulator was responding to the marching orders of President Duterte, who had earlier directed the MWSS to order private concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad to release water supply from Angat good for 150 days.
“We wish to assure the President that MWSS is doing its best to solve the water shortage problem and we are putting to task Manila Water to give us a definitive timeline of solving their distribution and operations systems to bring back to normal level the water supply to ease the suffering of the consuming public,” MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said.
He also reiterated that short and long-term solutions for Metro Manila’s water supply demand are now in place to provide enough and sufficient water to supply the future needs of the 20 million residents in the metropolis and nearby provinces serviced by its concessionaires in the next 10 to 15 years.
“Admittedly, we are on a catch up mode as far as water supply source is concerned since our main source which is the Angat Dam that supplies 96 percent of water to Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal was built in 1967 and no major water source has been built since then except for some water supply projects from Laguna Lake by both Maynilad and Manila Water,” Velasco said.
He said that it’s only over the last two years under the Duterte administration that serious efforts have been put in place to push for major water flagship projects such as: the 600 MLD Kaliwa Dam, the 500 MLD from Wawa Dam, the 800 MLD to be sourced from unutilized water from Angat-Norzagaray, the 350 MLD from Bayabas Dam as well as 500 MLD from Laguna Lake.
In a special board meeting, the MWSS Board of Trustees chaired by Franklin J. Demonteverde adapted the short-term and long-term measures presented by Velasco to address the water shortage in the East Zone.
These measures include MWSS requesting the National Water Resources Board (NWRB), through its Executive Director Virgilio David, to allow Manila Water to activate 101 deep wells which can supply 101 million liters daily (MLD) to its consumers.
The NWRB has already approved this request and Manila Water has started energizing and activating these deep wells.
MWSS also asked Maynilad to allocate 50 MLD and share water through cross border flow with Manila Water. The cross border will initially provide additional 20 MLD to Manila Water’s supply this March and full 50 MLD by April.
Maynilad was also asked to share its water tanks to Manila Water.
MWSS has also directed Manila Water to activate and operationalize its Cardona, Rizal, treatment plant which was supposed to be operational in October 2018.
Right now, about 83 percent (about a million households) of Manila Water customers already have water at certain times of the day.
“Not 24 hours but they have water already. Remaining challenging areas are those located at highly elevated portions,” Manila Water Corporate Strategic Affairs Group Head Jeric Sevilla said.
READ MORE: Duterte: Release water from Angat