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Monday, March 4, 2024

Gov’t prepared for El Niño, says water board exec

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The government is more prepared to address the El Niño episode this year than in previous years, an official of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) said.

NWRB executive director Sevilla David on Friday said the NWRB is now readying contingency plans ahead of time before the episode’s adverse impacts could be felt by the third quarter of the year.

“We at the NWRB are already prepared with our contingency plan or mitigating measures. One of them is the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System doing its part, such as the preparation for standby deep wells,” he said.     

The weather bureau said El Niño is here to stay until 2024.     

“The way we see things are, is that we are now more prepared since we have already prepared alternative water sources, like deep wells and treatment facilities The National Irrigation Administration, our partner, is also ready,” David said.

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The NWRB further announced that it will retain the current raw water allocation for the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) from Angat Dam at 50 cubic meters per second (CMS) from April 1 to 15, 2023.

“At 50 CMS, we expect that the volume of raw water flowing to the Novaliches Portal in Quezon City will still be at reduced levels. Given this, the current daily water service interruptions will remain in place, but the interruption schedules to be implemented starting April 1, 2023 have been adjusted to account for the full suspension of the cross-portal sharing arrangement between Maynilad and Manila Water,” Maynilad Water Services, Inc said in a statement.

To mitigate the impact of the reduced available supply, Maynilad is facilitating its supply augmentation measures, which include the reactivation of deep wells and commissioning of modular treatment plants to produce more water from alternate sources, and the continued repair of pipe leaks and replacement of old pipelines to recover more water for distribution.

The company is also making available around 100 mobile water tankers for deployment, as needed. It has installed 83 stationary water tanks (SWT) in strategic locations, and is purchasing more SWTs for additional water storage.

Prior to the implementation of the service interruptions, Maynilad has been augmenting supplies through a “cross-portal” arrangement with Manila Water, because less water has been reaching the Novaliches Portal in Quezon City.

However, the water  level at La Mesa Dam has been going down in recent weeks, forcing Manila Water to gradually suspend the cross-portal supply sharing.

If the water impounded at Angat Dam will continue to drop, this will mean less supply for Maynilad to distribute, resulting in longer daily service interruption starting today, April, 1, 2023.

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