Maynilad on Wednesday said it has begun daily service interruptions to preserve the remaining supply of water in the Angat-Ipo system, as there will be less rainfall to replenish the dams because of the El Niño.
Even before 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 declining water elevation at La Mesa Dam has forced Manila Water to gradually suspend the cross-portal sharing.
This will mean less supply for Maynilad to distribute, resulting in longer daily service interruption schedules starting April 1.
“We met with the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and Manila Water this morning, March 29, 2023, to discuss the situation. And while the cross-portal sharing will no longer be extended, the MWSS is sending a letter request to the National Water Resources Board for an increased allocation of 52 cms (cubic meters per second) from April to May 2023 so that both Ipo and La Mesa dams can fully recover and more raw water is conveyed to the Novaliches portal,” Maynilad said in a statement.
With a higher raw water allocation, Manila Water would be more comfortable with sustaining the cross-portal sharing arrangement withMaynilad.
“It would also increase the volume of raw water that reaches Maynilad’s treatment plants, enabling us to suspend the daily service interruptions that are currently in place,” the company said.
Maynilad is also taking other measures to help mitigate the supply shortage, including “massive leak repair activities at the conveyance system — from Bigti to La Mesa Dam—to arrest losses in the aqueducts and improve raw water flow to the Novaliches portal.”
Also on Wednesday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority on Wednesday announced it will reimpose the daily 30-minute “heat stroke break” policy beginning April 1 to protect the health of its traffic enforcers and other personnel working outdoors during the summer season.
MMDA chairman Romando Artes has signed a memorandum circular re-implementing the “heat stroke break” policy to prevent field personnel getting sick from exhaustion, stroke, and cramps due to severe heat waves.
Under the policy, on-duty traffic enforcers and street sweepers are allowed to leave their posts in shifts to seek shelter from the sun and take a 30-minute break to allow their bodies to cool down.
“The heat stroke break shall be done alternately by those who are assigned in a particular area to maintain visibility of traffic enforcers and street sweepers and to ensure field operations are not hampered,” said Artes, adding that field personnel can also take an additional 15-minute break time in case the heat index or the “human discomfort index” in Metro Manila reaches 40 degrees Celsius and above.
As defined by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), heat index gives the “apparent” temperature, or what humans perceive or feel as the temperature affecting their body.
The state weather bureau recently declared the start of the warm and dry season, which is expected to last until May.
Health experts said symptoms of the heat stroke or thermal distress include dizziness, uncommon thirst, breathing difficulties, headaches, feverishness and even hypertension.
Dr. Benito Atienza, vice president of the Philippine Federation of Professional Associations, meanwhile, cautioned the public against drinking alcoholic drinks and eating too many sweets during the hot season, saying that this could lead to dehydration, and other physical manifestations of heat exhaustion.