Senator Win Gatchalian is asking the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and other concerned agencies to disclose to the public their contingency plans should the Angat Dam dry up and breach its critical level in April.
“As early as now we should assure the public that should the water level in Angat Dam reach the critical level because of the El Niño, the government is prepared for that eventuality and we already have contingencies in place to ensure there will be adequate supply of water,” Gatchalian said.
“I understand that formal recommendations for cloud seeding in Angat have already been sent to PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration), but we should also be prepared should cloud seeding not be enough to stop the dam from breaching its critical level,” he added.
The lawmaker reminded MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco to submit the official list of waterworks projects in the pipeline between now and 2023, when the Kaliwa Dam project is expected to be completed. The government is banking primarily on the Kaliwa Dam to shore up Metro Manila’s water supply.
“What is the strategy of the MWSS for the next five years? We want to face our constituents at masasabi naming sa kanila na puwede silang maging kampante dahil itong mga proyekto ay papasok na,” Gatchalian told Velasco during the recent Senate Committee on Public Services hearing on the Metro Manila water shortage.
Based on PAGASA’s computation, the water level in Angat Dam may reach its critical level by the end of April. The dam’s water level is now at 195 meters, or 16.09 meters below its normal high level of 212 meters.
According to PAGASA, the dam will reach critical level once it breaches the 180-meter mark. PAGASA hydrologist Danilo Flores said the Angat water level drops by an average of 41 centimeters daily.
A 2011 study conducted by the University of the Philippines National Engineering Center (UP NEC) on the water demand-supply for areas served by the two concessionaires of the MWSS projected that Metro Manila will experience a water supply deficit around 2020 if no buffer capacity for demand is assumed.