By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
Mandaluyong City braces for the impending threat of another large-scale water shortage as the Metro Manila’s main source of water is about to hit its critical level Saturday night.
“We are really just waiting for water to flow out of our taps since we don’t have any other option for water supply,” said Girlie Portugal, who manages her mother’s eatery beside the Metro Rail Transit-3 Boni Station.
Their 20-seat eatery beside a used-clothes store was one of the business establishments, aside from thousands of households in the Tiger City, hit by the massive water shortage last March.
All of the cities in the east zone of Metro Manila suffered from the hours-long water interruption imposed by Manila Water. The water distribution company cited the rapid decline of water level in La Mesa Dam.
“We have spent thousands of pesos for water since we have to use bottled water,” Portugal told the Manila Bulletin. “On transportation alone, we spent almost P250 to P300 every day.”
“There are times that we spent up to P500 to rent out a vehicle since we don’t have a vehicle to transport the water we have purchased,” Portugal lamented.
Mandaluyong City and its entire 27 barangays were affected by the week-long water shortage last summer which caught them unprepared.
As early as 2 a.m., Mandaleños with their pales, jugs, drums, and other containers wait in line for water deliveries made either by firetrucks or by water tankers of Manila Water.
This scenario could again happen as the water level in Angat Dam may drop to 160 meter, its critical level, Saturday night. With this, the Manila Water and Maynilad have announced that they will be forced to implement longer rotational service interruptions.
Portugal, meanwhile, is still thankful that they haven’t spent money on water since they still have water as of this week, despite the scheduled daily water cut-offs.
“It has been two days that when the clock strikes noon, no more water comes out of our taps,” Portugal said.
She said that if the shortage will again strike and longer water interruptions will occur, they might close down their eatery for the meantime.
Meanwhile, School Principal Gigi Bullanday of Ilaya Barangka Integrated School fears that their students will again have to crowd the comfort rooms in their school’s ground floor.
This is because they will be forced to close down the bathrooms located in the third floor since no water flows out of its taps, which was the same scenario that happened to them during the water shortage in March.
“Our utility personnel have been complaining of the difficulty bringing the water up the stairs to fill the containers in the third floor’s bathrooms,” Bullanday told the Manila Bulletin.
With a population of 2,700 elementary and high school students, the school’s principal worries that their students will again have to endure the long queues just to use the bathroom.
“Imagine thousands of students and yet we only have like eight cubicles for the boys and for the girls and they usually have their bathroom break simultaneously during recess time,” she said.
Even they fill up all the water tanks, drums, and containers, Bullanday said it is still not enough.
“It’s been difficult because it’s for maintaining someone’s personal hygiene. We also have to maintain our school’s cleanliness,” Bullanday said. “So we are really trying our best finding solutions to our problems.” #