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MWSS follows Duterte’s ‘ill-advised’ order, releases more water from Angat to end water crisis

The Metropolitan Water and Sewerage System (MWSS) has released an additional 4,000 million liters per day (MLD) from the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water systems.

The Metropolitan Water and Sewerage System (MWSS) has released an additional 4,000 million liters per day (MLD) from the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water systems.

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“We will comply (with) the marching orders of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to solve the water shortage in 150 days and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, together with its concessionaires — Manila Water, Maynilad and Bulacan Bulk Water — will do its best to meet his expectations,” MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said in a statement on Saturday.

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“In line with his order, the MWSS, through the approval of the Natural Water Resources Board (NWRB), has actually added 2 cm to the 46 cm released daily from (the) Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water systems, which can only accommodate 4,000 million liters daily,” he noted.

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Velasco had earlier claimed that Duterte was ill-advised on his order to release more water from Angat claiming there was no such thing as “a 150-day water supply.”

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Angat Dam supplies Metro Manila with 4,000 million liters of water per day.

The concession agreements gave Manila Water an allocation of 1,600 MLD for its 6 million consumers, and Maynilad with 2,400 MLD for its 9 million consumers.

That is a total of 4,000 MLD, divided into 40 percent and 60 percent, respectively, which is based on the actual volume that Angat can give with the existing infrastructure involving aqueducts and pipeline systems.

Velasco said Manila Water is getting its allocation of 1,600 MLD but its requirement is now pegged at 1,750 MLD due to the increase in demand, consumption and population growth.

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“The present problem could have been averted had Manila Water’s 100 MLD Cardona Treatment Plant had been operational since December 2018,” he said.

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

The MWSS has directed Manila Water to activate and operationalize its Cardona, Rizal treatment plant, enough to provide an additional 100 MLD to its consumers.

Manila Water president Ferdinand dela Cruz on Saturday announced that the Cardona Treatment Plant was now energized with an initial 24 MLD and will be fully-operational with 50 MLD by the end of this month.

“We wish to assure the President that MWSS is doing its best to solve the water shortage problem and we are putting to task Manila Water to give us a definitive timeline of solving their distribution and operations systems to bring back to normal level the water supply to ease the suffering of the consuming public,” Velasco said.

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He also reiterated that short- and long-term solutions for Metro Manila’s water supply demand are now in place and on pace, under the Duterte administration to provide sufficient water to supply the future needs of the 20 million residents in the metropolis and nearby provinces serviced by its three concessionaires in the next 10 to 15 years.

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“Admittedly, we are on a catch up mode as far as water supply source is concerned since our main source, which is the Angat Dam that supplies 96 percent of water to Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal, was built in 1967 and no major water source has been built since then, except for some water supply projects from Laguna Lake by both Maynilad and Manila Water,” Velasco said.

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He said it is only over the past two years under the Duterte administration that serious efforts have been put in place to push for major water flagship projects, such as the 600-MLD Kaliwa Dam, 500 MLD from Wawa Dam, 800 MLD to be sourced from unutilized water from Angat-Norzagaray, 350 MLD from Bayabas Dam, as well as 500 MLD from Laguna Lake.

Meanwhile, Velasco clarified that the so-called “bypass” has been open all along, following a viral post on social media involving MWSS chief regulator Patrick Ty and a netizen.

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According to MWSS, the bypass is already opened regularly, particularly because the La Mesa Dam level is low. Most, if not all, of Manila Water’s 1600 MLD now probably goes through the bypass. Last year, Manila Water and Maynilad had issues regarding the bypass that resulted in MWSS mediating between the two concessionaires after Maynilad complained that it was getting less than 60 percent, causing its Bagbag Reservoir’s level to fall, and affecting its service area.

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Contrary to perceptions, Velasco said, the 60-40 split is not maintained throughout the day.

“Maynilad produces more at night because it has the Bagbag reservoir to fill up and use during the day. While Manila Water produces more during the daytime. It is the Common Purpose Facilities that controls the bypass that regulates this sharing,” he noted. (PNA)

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