‘Dodong’ manna from heaven amid water crisis

Tropical Depression “Dodong” is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon, bringing rains to Luzon—including the Angat watershed in Bulacan, the weather bureau said Tuesday.

‘Dodong’ manna from heaven amid water crisis
MARKED CONTRAST. While a prototypical faucet in Metro Manila drips, no thanks to Manila Water and Maynilad Water Services, Araneta Avenue in Quezon City is submerged Tuesday following a heavy downpour, no gratitude either to Tropical Depression ‘Dodong,’ forcing an unidentified man to carry his bicycle while wading through the four-lane avenue lined by office buildings and funeral parlors. Lisa Marie David
On Monday night, the heavy rains that lasted until 4 a.m. Yesterday could fill more than 5,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools, causing flooding in Quezon City, Navotas, Malabon, Valenzuela, Manila, Mandaluyong, and San Juan, the state weather bureau said.

Weather forecaster Lanie Bitogon of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said that while Dodong is not expected to make landfall, it is expected to intensify the southwest monsoon and trigger rain showers and thunderstorms over the western sections of Luzon and the Visayas Wednesday night.

On Thursday, the monsoon rains are expected to prevail over Metro Manila, the Western Visayas and western sections of Central Luzon, where the Angat Dam can be found.

“We are hoping for rains in Angat. That’s what we all want,” Bitogon told the Manila Standard.

The water level at the Angat Dam, which supplies most of the potable water for Metro Manila, dipped further to 158.77 meters as of 6 a.m. Tuesday.

The tight water supply has led to water service interruptions in Metro Manila.

Sonia Serrano, PAGASA hydrologist, said they did not know if the rains will be enough to raise the water level at Angat.

Customers of the two water concessionaires of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System—Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc.—have been implementing more and prolonged water service interruptions due to Angat Dam’s low water elevation.

READ: MWSS option: Pump out water from Angat Dam

Bitogon said Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon), and Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan (Mimaropa) must also brace for monsoon rains, especially those living in places at high risk of floods and landslides.

“Dodong” was estimated at 615 kilometers east northeast of Aparri, Cagayan.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 45 kms per hour near the center and gustiness of up to 60 kph, it was moving northeast at 25 kms per hour.

Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Tuesday called a hearing on the water situation in Metro Manila when told by Acting Administrator Jeci Lapus of the Local Water Utilities Administration of the severity of the supply problem being experienced by water distributors.

Lapus said Metro Manila’s water concessionaires may seek additional water supply from water districts in nearby provinces to alleviate the water crisis.

Lapus added that Manila Water Company Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. should also help transport the water from adjacent provinces such as Cavite, Laguna, and Bulacan.

Officials and repress, LWUA and National Irrigation Administration as well as those from the departments of Agriculture, of Budget and Management, of Environment

and Natural Resources and of Public Works and Highways attended the hearing of the congressional oversight committee.

In addition, officials and representatives of the National Economic and Development Authority and water concessionaires Manila Water and Maynilad attended the hearing.

The session also tackled the proposed creation of a Department of Water.

Arroyo’s House Bill 8068 that proposes the creation of the Department of Water will be recommended to the incoming 18th Congress after the oversight meeting headed by the House committees on Metro Manila development and public works and highways adopt the bill.

Arroyo maintained that the committee report could just be endorsed to the next Congress, which opens in July.

Metro Manila is currently experiencing water shortage with Maynilad and Manila Water forced to implement water interruptions of as long as 17 hours daily. The shortage is considered to be the most serious to be experienced by the metropolis in decades.

A congressman from Bulacan proposed the construction of more dams to supply the needs of the some 12 million Metro Manila residents.

Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado of Bulacan said more dams may have to be built not only in Quezon but also in Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan to supply Metro Manila.

Sy-Alvarado also sought the creation of the Department of Water that is tasked to conceptualize, plan and implement all projects involving the supply and distribution of potable water.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez expressed disappointment over the inability of the Manila Water and Maynilad to effectively implement measures to solve the water crisis in Metro Manila.

In a press briefing last March, Suarez said his committee sought the commitment of the two water service concessionaires regarding the implementation of a long-term solution to the water crisis.

“After two months, our situation remains dire,” said Suarez at a news conference.

Suarez urged the two water service concessionaires to use the Sumag River Diversion Project as an alternative source of water supply.

Suarez said the Sumag River Diversion Project, located in Quezon province, was suspended in 2016. It was intended to supplement water supply to the Angat Dam.

READ: Angat nears critical mark

Topics: Tropical Depression “Dodong” , Angat Dam , Lanie Bitogon , Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration
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