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Impending water shortage to threaten COVID-19 prevention

As Metro Manila braces for possible water interruption during the summer season, Senator Win Gatchalian warns that insufficient water supply could threaten efforts in containing or curbing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).


TAYTAY, RIZAL, Philippines – The sprawling community of Tapayan at the fringe of Laguna Lake and Pasig City in Metro Manila as seen on this aerial file image, 17 Aug. 2019. Ordinary Filipinos are at particular risk from the water shortage as Metro Manila braces for the dry season. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Gatchalian urges water concessionaires to ensure uninterrupted water supply in households, hospitals and medical facilities where confirmed COVID-19 patients are treated, adding that water is fundamental in ensuring treatment, hygiene, and sanitation especially in the wake of such disease outbreaks. The World Health Organization (WHO) had said that the most effective way to protect oneself against the coronavirus is by frequently cleaning the hands and washing them with soap and water. By doing this, one can eliminate the virus that may be on one’s hands and avoid infection that could occur by touching the eyes, mouth, and nose.

Filipinos are at particular risk from the water shortage, particularly those with compromised immune systems and the heightened possibility of an uptick in respiratory illnesses, making the people more vulnerable to COVID-19.

“We cannot compromise the health of the people. Water is fundamental in ensuring hygiene and sanitation, infection control, and prevention measures that is why we cannot afford water shortage at this critical time”, says Gatchalian.

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) had earlier announced that service interruptions will be implemented in some areas in Metro Manila in the coming weeks. Angat Dam supplies 96 percent of Metro Manila’s water requirement. As of March 13, 2020, the water elevation of Angat dam was 200.41 meters, 11.59 meters below the dam’s normal high water level of 212 meters.

The NWRB has allowed the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) to use its existing deepwells to augment water supply for the two concessionaires, Manila Water and Maynilad. Gatchalian asked the NWRB to make true its commitment of aggressively monitoring water shortage in Metro Manila.