Duterte Administration

MWSS to comply with Duterte order

MANILA, Philippines — The head of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) is reading between the lines of President Duterte’s order to release 150 days worth of water from Angat Dam, noting that the President may have been misinformed on the water crisis.

In a radio interview yesterday, MWSS administrator Reynaldo Velasco said while the President may have been ill-advised on the issue, he understands the message being conveyed.

“What is important is to solve the problem,” Velasco said in English and Filipino.

Velasco said he has informed Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea about the misinformation sent to the President.

“I will comply with the wish of the President not based on the terms that he used, but I can see what he wants. He doesn’t want people to line up in the streets waiting for water,” Velasco said.

“We will comply with the marching orders of (President Duterte) to solve the water shortage in 150 days and the MWSS together with its concessionaires – Manila Water, Maynilad and Bulacan Bulk Water – will do its best to meet his expectations,” the MWSS said in a statement.

In line with the President’s order, the MWSS said it has added two centimeters (cm) to the 46 cm released daily from the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water systems, which can only accommodate 4,000 million liters daily (MLD), with the approval of the Natural Water Resources Board (NWRB).

“The present problem could have been averted had Manila Water’s 100 MLD Cardona Treatment Plant been operational since October,” the MWSS said.

In the previous months, Manila Water had been sourcing its deficit water from La Mesa Dam but due to the lack of rains caused by El Niño, La Mesa was depleted.

The MWSS board of trustees said it held a special meeting last Thursday, where short-term and long-term measures to solve the water shortage in the East Zone were discussed.

Among the possible solutions discussed were the activation of 101 deep wells, which can supply 101 MLD to consumers, and the sharing of Maynilad of 50 MLD through cross-border sharing, including the deployment of water trucks to affected areas that will service or benefit 50,000 households in Quezon City, Parañaque and Taguig.

The MWSS said the NWRB has approved the request to reactivate the deep wells and Manila Water has started energizing and activating the said wells.

East Zone concessionaire Manila Water noted that its 20-hour water interruptions would not last throughout the summer as it is starting to see the effects of the rotational water supply scheme it implemented since Thursday.

“Levels of various reservoirs have started to increase and water supply, though still at low pressure in some areas, is slowly being distributed to severely affected barangays,” the company said in a statement Friday.

Manila Water said pressure is expected to improve in the coming days as the reservoirs are refilled to enable water to reach highly elevated areas.

“These operational adjustments are a temporary measure that Manila Water is undertaking to balance water supply distribution in its concession area,” the company said.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) expressed optimism that the situation in Metro Manila will improve in the coming weeks.

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said the DENR has coordinated with the NWRB, Maynilad and Manila Water with regard to its water treatment plant in Cardona, Rizal to help areas in Metro Manila experiencing water shortage.

Antiporda said Manila Water will provide a total additional water supply of 180 MLD by April.

“Within next week or two, service will improve,” Antiporda said in English and Filipino, noting that (Manila Water’s) Cardona water treatment facility is expected to yield 22 MLD by the end of March before reaching a capacity yield of 50 MLD by April.

He said the three agencies met at the MWSS office in Quezon City Thursday. where Maynilad committed to allocate 20 MLD to Manila Water by the end of March and increasing it to 50 MLD by April.

On the part of the NWRB, Antiporda said the agency projects an additional allocation of 30 MLD by April with the reactivation of deep wells.

The MWSS will be responsible for operating the deep wells, Antiporda added.

He said the NWRB also expects another 50 MLD to be sourced from the deep wells after April, generating a total of 80 MLD.

Critical level

Meanwhile, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) yesterday said the water level in La Mesa remained critical.

As of 6 a.m. yesterday, the water level in the dam was at 68.70 meters, below the critical level of 69 meters.

PAGASA noted that there was a reduction of 0.02 meters from the 68.72 meters recorded Friday morning.

The Dam Water Level Update of PAGASA also showed that the current level is 11.45 meters below the normal level of 80.15 meters.

Hospitals with standby wells can draw their water needs from the water facilities, the National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management (NDRRMC) said.

“In case there is a need to augment the water supply, hospitals with standby deep wells will be the priority,” said NDRRMC executive officer and Office of Civil Defense administrator Ricardo Jalad.

Jalad cited last Wednesday’s report from the Department of Health (DOH) that at least five government hospitals in Metro Manila have been affected by the water crisis.

The five hospitals include Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City, National Center for Mental Health in Mandaluyong City, National Kidney Institute and Transplant Institute, Philippine Children’s Medical Center and the Quirino Memorial Medical Center, all in Quezon City.

The prevailing El Niño spell has affected 23 areas in Region 4-B as well as Regions 9 and 10 with damages to agriculture including high-value crops.

As this developed, the DOH has assured the public that the water being rationed to its hospitals are tested.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, all affected DOH hospitals are under instruction to test their water supply coming from several sources to prevent outbreaks of diseases like diarrhea and gastroenteritis.

“Our hospitals have capabilities to test water so they are doing it now. Even if the water is coming from a corporation, which is supposed to treat and test them… handling may cause contamination,” Duque told reporters.

Duque also urged persons who are affected by the water shortage to make sure that their drinking water is safe.

“It is important to ensure the quality of your drinking water through simple, inexpensive steps… to treat and safely store water in your homes to avoid falling ill,” he said. – With Rhodina Villanueva, Jaime Laude, Sheila Crisostomo

source: philstar.com



Most Popular

To Top