A lawmaker from Metro Manila wants the government to use Laguna de Bay as one of the sources of potable water for Metro Manila.
Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said “we have to take full advantage of Laguna Lake’s largely untapped water resources. There are modern technologies available to rigorously clean the vast amounts of water that may be sustainably recycled from the lake.”
The 2.2 billion cubic meters of water naturally deposited in the 90,000-hectare lake is a mix of water from dozens of rivers and streams, rainwater, stormwater runoff and sewage.
Campos cited the need to diversify the national capital region’s water sources amid rapid consumption growth and recurring dry spells due to harsh climate change.
“The reprocessing of Laguna Lake’s water supply will also help lessen flooding, which is a persistent problem in surrounding communities,” Campos, a member of the House committee on Metro Manila development, said.
The lake tends to overflow during heavy rains, causing floods in parts of Laguna, Rizal and eastern Metro Manila.
“By reusing water from the lake, Metro Manila’s private water concessionaires will also achieve in one action their dual obligations to deliver round-the-clock water supply to consumers and to provide wastewater treatment facilities,” Campos said, referring to Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc.
For years, the two concessionaires have been relying on Angat Dam in Bulacan to supply 96 percent of Metro Manila’s water demand.
“We recognize that decontaminating water from Laguna Lake is more costly than treating water from Angat, but the concessionaires really have no choice but to expand their sources if we are to avoid another water crisis,” Campos said.
In the 2019 Metro Manila water crisis, consumers reeled from prolonged daily water service interruptions after a severe dry spell caused Angat’s water level to plunge 52 meters below its 210-meter normal high elevation.
“We need multiple water treatment facilities drawing off Laguna Lake,” Campos said.
Manila Water only began harvesting 50 million liters of water per day from the lake in 2019 after building the Cardona Water Treatment Plant in Rizal.