MWCI still gets full water allocation

MANILA Private water concessionaire Manila Water Company Inc. (MWCI) is getting its entire share of water from Angat Dam despite the onslaught of the drought-driving El NiAo phenomenon.

Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Regulatory Office Chief Regulator Patrick Lester Ty gave such assurance, saying that the infrastructure for delivering water from Angat to MWCI - including the bypass that was allegedly closed - is open and working.

"There's water from Angat and MWCI is getting its full allocation of water from that dam," he said at a press conference Friday (March 15), denying allegations about the bypass' closure.

He said MWCI won't be able to receive its full water allocation of 1,600 million liters per day (MLD) if the bypass had been shut down, as alleged in online posts.

Water shortage continues to plague various areas that MWCI serves, fanning public uproar over the matter, as well as clamor for immediate and long-term solutions to this problem.

"MWCI is partly to be blamed," said Ty.

Water demand among MWCI's customers is increasing, he noted.

He said MWCI was unable to deliver its Cardona treatment plant last year as planned, which forced the company to draw water from La Mesa Dam.

Raw water from Laguna Lake is due for treatment at the Cardona plant before delivery to MWCI's customers to augment the concessionaire's water supply.

Due to the El NiAo, Ty said there hasn't been rain to help refill La Mesa so MWCI's withdrawal of water caused reserve in this facility to dip more.

Panic about a possible water crisis prompted customers of MWCI to increasingly store water further depleting La Mesa's reserve, he continued.

MWCI and private water concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc. (MWSI) continue getting water from Angat Dam for delivery to customers in MWSS service areas, which includes Metro Manila and parts of Cavite and Rizal provinces.

The allocation of MWCI represents 40 percent of the total 4,000 MLD water that Angat Dam releases to the company and MWSI for delivery to their respective customers.

MWSI has a bigger customer base so the company receives an allocation of 2,400 MLD or 60 percent of such water from Angat.

According to MWCI, the water that it receives from Angat Dam is no longer sufficient to meet the rising water demand.

The projected water demand of its customers is about 1,740 MLD already, noted MWCI.

Ty, however, noted that existing infrastructure for bringing water from Angat Dam to MWCI and MWSI can no longer accommodate more than 4,000 MLD.

"The long-term solution is to look for new water sources," he said.

As a short-term intervention, Ty said MWSS already asked MWSI to make some of its water tankers available for delivery of water to water shortage-afflicted MWCI areas.

Another short-term measure is activation of several deep wells until the rains come to help ease MWCI customers' water woes, he also said.

MWSI is likewise looking into temporarily sharing some of its water with MWCI.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said despite the El Nino, Angat Dam continues to operate normally.

Angat's 6 a.m. water level was at 199.25 meters on Friday higher than the 180 meters critical level, noted PAGASA.

PAGASA expects this year's El NiAo to be short-lived, lasting around June.

El Nino's onslaught may delay the onset of the rainy season this year, PAGASA said.

The rainy season normally begins around either late May or early June, PAGASA added. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency