Bella Cariaso – The Philippine Star
June 20, 2023 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) yesterday recorded the highest daily drop in the water level of Angat Dam, from 186.55 meters to 186.15 meters or a decrease of at least 40 centimeters.
As of 6 a.m. yesterday, the water at Angat Dam was only 6.15 meters higher than its minimum operating or critical level of 180 meters.
The water level of Angat Dam continued to go down as the rains last week failed to improve its level.
According to the state bureau, the water level of Angat Dam is still 3.63 meters away from reaching its rule curve elevation of 182.52 meters or the level of the dam to be able to fulfill its functions.
Angat Dam supplies more than 90 percent of Metro Manila’s potable water needs and irrigates 25,000 hectares of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga.?The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) has extended until June 30, 2023 the 52 cubic meters per second (cms) water allocation for Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water to prevent rotational water interruption for more than one million connections.
NWRB executive director Sevillo David Jr. said that based on the projection of PAGASA, another extension of the 52 cms water allocation for the two water concessionaires can no longer be accommodated.
Based on projections, Angat Dam will not recover before yearend, especially during El Niño.
On the other hand, the water level of San Roque Dam in Pangasinan also dropped by six centimeters, from 235.25 meters to 235.19 meters.
The water level of Magat Dam in Isabela also decreased by 13 centimeters, from 168.10 meters to 167.97 meters.
Meanwhile, the water level of Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija also dropped by seven centimeters, from 183.37 meters to 183.30 meters.
No cloud seeding
Despite the receding water level of the dam, David said no cloud-seeding operations were yet scheduled to help raise the water elevation of Angat Dam.
He pointed out that if Angat Dam water elevation recedes below the minimum operating level of 180 meters, its water supply is prioritized for Metro Manila consumption as per protocol while irrigation and power generation water allocations will be suspended.
Earlier, David explained that clouding-seeding for Angat Dam water resources is part of mitigating measures on the possible effects of El Niño.
He added that the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System will discuss with PAGASA and the Bureau of Water and Soil Management regarding the cloud-seeding operation schedules.
Moves to create an interagency body that will address the looming water crisis in the country have gained ground at the House of Representatives following the panel approval of a bill proposing it.
Before going on sine die adjournment on May 31, the House committee on public works and highways approved the bill, which seeks to establish the body which will be tasked to propose, formulate, draft and direct the implementation of a comprehensive master plan to solve the water shortage.
The bill’s author, Bulacan Rep. Lorna Silverio, said that over the past two decades, the country had experienced various water shortages, justifying the need to create the body.
“Given the vital importance of water to the everyday lives, leaders of the nation should be alarmed and should act today to avert a devastating water shortage,” she noted.
Silverio added that even with the La Niña season, “when there is supposed to be an abundance of water supply, the nation, particularly the National Capital Region, experiences water shortages that adversely impact on communities and business operations.”
The lawmaker said the onset of EI Niño has worsened the situation, causing the traditional water sources to dry up and “limiting their capacity to supply the water needs of a continuously growing metropolis.”— Ramon Efren Lazaro, Sheila Crisostomo
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