Water Crisis In Manila

Water Crisis In Manila

WaterOn March 7th water services were cut off in Manila and Rizal Metro area. It has been the water worst nightmare in recent history. State regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems (MWSS) and water concessionaires needed immediate action to remedy the issue.

Both Chambers of Congress are going to attempt to get the bottom of the problem. The House of Representatives probed in the matter on Monday March 17th, while the Senate launched its own investigation the following day.

Rappler lists down what Manila Water and concerned government agencies have said in relation to the problem and what resolution have been done.

There are two private companies that provide waters

Maynilad covers the west zone, specifically the cities of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Malabon, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Valenzuela, most of Manila, and portions of Quezon City and Makati. It also serves some cities in Cavite.

Manila Water is responsible for providing water to the cities of Marikina, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, Taguig, most of Quezon City, and some areas of Manila. It also caters to the water needs of some areas in Rizal.

Both companies draw water from the Angat Dam in Norzaragay, Bulacan with provides around 96% of the entire demand of Metro Manila.
The dam lets out 4,000 million liters per day (MLD) for both companies. Out of this figure 2,400 MLD is allocated for Maynilad and 1,600 MLD is sent to Manila Water.

From Angat Dam the water flows through IP Dam, then La Mesa Dam.

What trigger the service interruptions?

Manila Water stated it can no longer keep up with the demand, the average has grown to 1,740 MLD, which is higher than the company Angat Dam allocation of 1,600 MLD

The deficit is being supplied by water from the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City.

Manila Water had already anticipated a shortage for March, given an anticipated light El Niño.

While Angat Dam’s water is still normal at over 200 meters, La Mesa Dam’s level was already an issue. With the lowest level of water, it cannot reach the aqueduct gets.

Manila Water stated it was planning on adjusting the water supply allocation across its distribution areas. They were planning on reducing gradually the pressure affecting some areas at a time. When Manila Water announced the plan the first week of March a surge of water from customers arise reducing the reservoir volume in several areas dropping below the minimum level.

These events caused the service interruption per company statement.

Manila Water predicted as early 2010 the water supply would be insufficient given the boom in the capital population.

Per Manila Water the crisis could have happened as early as 2018.

Several projects introduced by Manila Water have not been approved by MWSS.

In light of the investigation that both chambers of Congress will initiate, the following questions still beg for answers:

·         If Manila Water anticipated the supply problem, why did they not raise the alarm much earlier? Why was it not coordinated with the MWSS and Maynilad early on?

·         If the problem was infrastructure, what were the barriers to the building of such? Why did MWSS thumb down proposals for new water sources?

·         Government and the private sector were able to come up with solutions over a week after the shortage. Are there protocols in place in case of a supply shortage and what are these?

·         MWSS said it does not have the power to discipline Manila Water over the mess. If so, who can crack the whip and hold private companies accountable?

·         Is there a need for a Department of Water now, as proposed? Whatever happened to the pending bills related to it?

·         What concrete steps are government and water concessionaires taking to assure the public that a similar scenario does not recur in the future? – Rappler.com