Angat Dam dips to critical level

MANILA, Philippines – The Angat Dam in Bulacan, which supplies around 96% of Metro Manila's water needs, dipped to its critical level on Sunday, April 28.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the Angat Dam's water level dropped to 179.97 meters on Sunday.

The minimum operating water level of the Angat Dam is 180 meters.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB), in a statement last Friday, April 26, said that it expects the dam's level to dip further, likely reduced to 173.13 meters by the end of May.

Under the Angat Operation Rule, this is the order of priority for water releases during critical lows:

The NWRB said on Friday that it will maintain the allocation for the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) at 48 cubic meters per second (CMS), while water release for irrigation will be reduced from 35 CMS to 10 CMS in May.

The Philippines has been dealing with the effects of a weak El Niño in the tropical Pacific. But the NWRB, citing PAGASA, said the "rainfall forecast for Angat Watershed for the months of May to July is near normal condition."

In the meantime, while the dry season continues, the NWRB said contingency measures are already in place. These include:

The NWRB also appealed to the public to conserve water.

"This will prevent the rapid decline of water level in our dam and will contribute [to] its recovery," said the board.

"In this manner, not only are we securing that water will be available in the next couple of months, it will also help us manage the future requirements of Metro Manila water users and farmers from Bulacan and Pampanga."

Parts of Metro Manila and Rizal serviced by East Zone concessionaire Manila Water continue to deal with a water shortage that began in early March.

Both Manila Water and West Zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services get supply from the Angat Dam. From Angat, water flows through the Ipo Dam, then to the La Mesa Dam, before reaching consumers. – Rappler.com