power and water

Metro water pressure lowered by June 16 as El Niño looms

Iya Gozum

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Metro water pressure lowered by June 16 as El Niño looms

Residents fetch water from a community water well to wash clothes, bathe and for household use, in Barangay Old Capitol in Quezon City on March 21, 2023. Some residents rely on water refilling stations for drinking water as access to safe drinking water from taps are sometimes compromised due to the congested and exposed water lines and pipes in the community.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

NWRB expects minimal impact to Metro Manila residents when they lower water allocation this month

MANILA, Philippines – As the Philippines faces a possible prolonged dry spell due to the El Niño phenomenon, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) asked the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to maintain its current higher water allocation of 52 cubic meters per second for Metro Manila. The NWRB agreed, but only until June 15.

Metro water pressure lowered by June 16 as El Niño looms

In April, MWSS was granted by NWRB a higher water allocation to prevent water interruptions in the face of ongoing pipe repairs and recovery of water supply from treatment facilities and deep wells.

Prior to that request, the regular allocation of MWSS was 48 cms.

However, NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. told MWSS that Metro Manila’s water allocation for June 16 to 30, will be decreased to 50 cms. David said NWRB expected by that time MWSS had completed water supply augmentation measures, which would minimize the effect of lower allocation to Metro Manila resident.

“Umaasa po tayo na hindi na po ganoon kalaki ang impact nila kasi nakapag-recover na rin po ng karagdagang tubig para sa kababayan po natin,” David said in an interview on Thursday, June 1.

(We are hoping that the impact is not as big since they are supposed to have recovered additional water supplies.)

Metro Manila is dependent on a single water source, the Angat Dam in Bulacan province. Higher allocation means using up more water supply available from Angat Dam, at a time when conservation of water is crucial because of looming the El Niño.

WATCH: What is El Niño and why should we care?

WATCH: What is El Niño and why should we care?
Impending El Niño

The Philippines is preparing for the onset of El Niño, which is expected to drastically decrease water supply and spawn water interruptions because of lesser rainfall.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), El Niño will hit the country this June until August, and may persist until 2024.

David said NWRB is closely monitoring water levels in major dams along with PAGASA.

However, projections are looking dim. “Ayon sa mga projections natin ay kung magpapatuloy po ang epekto ng El Niño ay baka nga po hindi tayo umabot doon sa inaasam nating elevation bago magtapos ang taon.”

(If effects of El Niño will continue, we might not reach the elevation we want before the year ends.)

David said they are hopeful Angat Dam’s water level would reach 212 meters by the end of the year to ensure enough water supply for Metro Manila. – Rappler.com

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Iya Gozum

Iya Gozum covers the environment, agriculture, and science beats for Rappler.