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Water crisis continues to subside

Angat power plant to resume operation; farms to get supply for irrigation
/ 05:12 AM September 02, 2019

More raw water from Angat Dam has been made available to customers of Maynilad Water Service Inc. and Manila Water Co. Inc. as the stock surpassed the dam’s minimum operating level, but Metro Manila and adjacent provinces are not yet out of the woods.

Even then, the continual rise of the water level at the dam means that farms can now get irrigation from Angat and the power plant there can run again.

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Effective Sept. 1, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) raised the allocation to Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System to 40 cubic meters per second from 36 cu.m.

NWRB last June reduced MWSS allocation to 36 cu.m from the normal allocation of 46 cu.m as the water level fell below the critical mark of 160 meters above sea level (masl).

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According to Manila Water, a difference of 4 cu.m in the water allocation to MWSS represented 350 million liters a day, equivalent to the daily water consumption of about 700,000 people.

As of 6 a.m. of Aug. 31, water level at the Angat Dam was at 182.61 masl, close to 3 meters above the minimum operating level of 180 masl.

In an interview, NWRB executive director Sevillo David said normal allocation to MWSS was still not possible considering that it was more important to allow Angat Dam to accumulate more stock in preparation for next year’s summer months.

“We will continue to monitor the dam and make appropriate decisions on allocation as the actual situation would allow,” David said. “Our hope is to see the water level reach 210 masl or more at the end of this year.”

Even then, he said the continued rise of stock in Angat Dam meant not only more supply available for household use, but also for farms and power generation.

“NWRB also decided to resume allocation for irrigation,” David said. “That also means that the Angat hydroelectric power plant can run again.”

The Angat power plant has been on forced outage for several months now due to the low water level at the dam, contributing to the recent power supply crunch in Luzon that saw the grid go under red alert more than 10 times.

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In a statement, Maynilad said water consumers should continue to cooperate in conserving the still limited supply.

“The water allocation is still below the normal 46 cu.m because NWRB wants Angat Dam to reach a water level of more than 210 meters by yearend to ensure that we have enough supply in the summer of 2020,”

According to David, it was possible that NWRB would decide this moth to again raise the MWSS allocation in October if the water level at Angat reached 190 masl or higher.

“There are many factors that we consider for such a decision, but such an increase [in the water level] would be helpful,” David said.

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