House panel sets inquiry into Metro water shortage

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The House Committee on Metro Manila Development has called the heads of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Maynilad, Manila Water, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Water Resources Management Office and Laguna Lake Development Authority to a meeting today (Wednesday) to brief the panel on depleting water supplies in Metro Manila.

Manila Second District Rep. Rolan Valeriano, the panel chairman, said his committee would discuss the depleting water supply for Metro Manila with concerned government agencies.

The committee has also invited the National Economic and Development Authority, National Power Corp., National Water Resources Board, and Local Water Utilities Administration.

The committee is also expected to look into the water level situation in Angat and La Mesa Dams.

Valenzuela Rep. Eric Martinez raised the continuous decline of dams’ water levels, citing Pagasa’s monitoring effort.

For his part, Makati Rep. Luis Campos recalled having pushed for the desalination of water drawn from the Laguna de Bay as another source of potable water for Metro Manila.

According to Valeriano, Angat provides 97 percent of Metro Manila’s water or 4,000 million liters per day of water via the La Mesa reservoir system.

“Although 60 percent of this is allocated to Maynilad, it has been penalized a couple of times lately by MWSS due to repeated water interruptions,” he said.

“More allocated to Maynilad, still not enough. Remember, Manila Water has only a 40 percent share,” he added.

Valeriano said it is critical to find out “how worse exactly is our water situation at present.”

Manila Water has announced rotating interruptions of water supply in its distribution areas.

With this, Valeriano expressed openness to the idea of desalination and desiltation of Laguna Bay.

“It can be cheaper or faster than constructing a new dam?” said Valeriano.