No water crisis–DENR

07/10/2010 - MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Friday assuaged fears of a water shortage in Metro Manila due to reports that Angat Dam may have reached critical levels despite the start of the rainy season.

“The water situation in Metro Manila remains tight, but there is no water crisis yet. The water level in Angat Dam may have reached critical levels, but supply is still manageable [and can] meet the domestic requirements of Metro Manila’s population of 15 million,” said Environment Secretary Ramon Paje.

Paje said that despite the recent shutting down of auxiliary power plants due to repair and maintenance work, water concessionaires had been assured of water supply “through the utilization of low level outlets of the reservoir.”

“The 33-40 cubic meters per second (cms) can still be delivered through these low level outlets,” he added.

Engr. Jorge Estioko, a member of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) technical working group on water management, said they would lower the allocation of Metro Manila’s two concessionaires to 32 cms from 33 cms.

The NWRB is an agency under the DENR.

While stressing that the 32-cms-allocation was still manageable, Estioko also called on the public to conserve water to “help in demand management.”

He said the technical working group had adopted the recommendation of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) to conduct cloud seeding operations over Angat to artificially stimulate rainfall. They would also coordinate with other government agencies in the cloud seeding.

Estioko said Pagasa had forecast below normal rainfall for July and near normal to normal rainfall for August because of the delayed effects of the El Niño phenomenon. He said the weather bureau was expecting the onset of La Niña by September.

Angat Dam supplies 97 percent of domestic water supply in the National Capital Region (NCR).

According to Pagasa’s hydrometeorology division, the water level of Angat Dam as of 6 a.m. yesterday stood at 158.66 meters above mean sea level. (Inquirer)

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