Manila Times / Manila
Precious water started to flow through the faucets of thousands of households that experienced a week of little to no supply, as the services of Ayala-led utility Manila Water Co resumed in several areas in Pasig, Mandaluyong and Quezon City.
On its Twitter account, Manila Water said running water was back yesterday in the villages of Bagong Ilog (Nos 1 and 19 Lakeview, Felpris Compound and Kawilihan Village), Kapitolyo and Ugong (Valle Verde 1) in Pasig City and Barangka Itaas in Mandaluyong City.
Major hospitals and health facilities in Quezon City also regained water service.
These include the Philippine Blood Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, St Luke’s Medical Center, East Ave Medical Center, Philippine Heart Center, Philippine Children’s Hospital, Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Quirino Memorial Medical Center and the National Kidney Transplant Institute.
Manila Water said tankers stood by to supply water if needed.
It clarified that water might take time to reach elevated areas, but assured the public that it was working to restore normal water supply.
In some villages of Quezon City, water services resumed though the water coming out was yellowish and murky, like in Barangka in Mandaluyong.
Water in Mandaluyong, however, later became clear, prompting residents to finally stock up.
In a statement, Manila Water said water discolouration normally happens when pressure and supply adjustments are done.
The water concessionaire advised residents having this problem to allow a few minutes for water to flow until the water becomes clear.
According to Manila Water, its water service interruption affected 250,000 to 260,000 people in Mandaluyong City (all barangay or villages), San Juan City (five barangay), and Pasig City (seven barangay) in Metro Manila, as well as Angono (three barangay), Antipolo (10 barangays), Taytay (three barangays), and Binangonan (12 barangays) in Rizal.
Manila Water was forced to lower water pressure or cut water supply in certain areas to ensure enough water for all its customers.
While Manila Water is still getting its allocation of 1,600mn litres per day (MLD), its requirement is now pegged at 1,750 MLD due to the increase in demand and population growth.
Manila Water services the cities of Mandaluyong, Marikina, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, Taguig, Makati and parts of Quezon City and Manila.
It also serves Antipolo City and the Rizal towns of Angono, Baras, Binagonan, Cainta, Cardona, Jala-Jala, Morong, Pililla, Rodriquez, Tanay, Taytay and San Mateo.
Another utility, Maynilad Water Services Inc, covers the cities of Manila, Pasay, Parañaque, Caloocan, Muntinlupa, Las Pinas, Valenzuela and parts of Makati and Quezon City.
Earlier, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), which regulates Manila Water and Maynilad, asked the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) to increase its water allocation from Angat Dam, Metro Manila’s water source.
President Rodrigo Duterte will soon sign an executive order (EO) to address the water crisis, a Palace official said yesterday.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a statement that government agencies were finalising the draft EO to address water issues, following the Cabinet Assistance System (CAS) meeting in Leyte on Friday.
According to Nograles, the draft EO covers the different components of integrated water resource management (IWRM). It also asks for the reconstitution of the NWRB which is responsible for allocating water from Angat Dam.
It will be responsible for policy, direction-setting, and the integration of all government efforts pertaining to water.
The board, under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, will be placed under the supervision of the Office of the President (OP). Nograles said supervision of the OP would “help ensure that all 30-plus agencies involved in water resource management are on the same page.”
Nograles said that during the meeting, the agencies agreed on the problems that needed to be resolved, so the water supply management issues would not be repeated in the future.
Last week, Nograles said an inter-agency cluster and the Executive branch of the government started to craft the EO to “properly” address the water issues in the country.
Duterte also ordered water companies to release water from Angat Dam.
The MWSS will lead an interagency meeting to address the water crisis. MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco will meet top officials of Manila Water, Maynilad, Bulacan Bulk Water, concerned local government units, the Bureau of Fire Protection, Association of Volunteer Fire Chiefs and Firefighters of the Philippines.
The meeting will also discuss San Miguel Corp.’s offer to help to deliver 140mn litres of clean, treated water to areas affected by the supply cut.
The MWSS lauded San Miguel President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang’s offer to provide potable water to over 6mn people in the East Zone of the metropolis from its untapped 140 MLD from Angat Dam.
According to Ang, the undertaking, will not be easy since an estimated 14,000 truck trips per day using 10-kilolitre (kl) tankers, or 7,000 trips per day using 20 kl tankers would be needed to deliver clean water.
In January this year, San Miguel operationalised Stage 1 of its Bulacan Bulk Water Project.
The facility’s Phase 1 has a production capacity of 200 MLD.
However, as many water districts have yet to upgrade and prepare their facilities to receive water from the BBWSP, the project uses only about 60 MLD.
Sen. Grace Poe, who is running for re-election, yesterday urged the MWSS and Manila Water to stop finger-pointing and instead offer solutions on the water crisis.
The senator, chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Services, is scheduled to conduct an inquiry on the water shortage on March 19.
Asked if she would recommend the removal of officials concerned who will be proven to be remiss of their duties, Poe said, “We need to find out who neglected their duties.”
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