Remember last year’s water shortage? While additional water treatment plants and storage facilities have been installed by the water concessionaires in Metro Manila, the state weather bureau is urging the public to start practicing water conservation as the dry season approaches.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration warned over the weekend that the water level in Angat Dam, the main source of water for Metro Manila, was at 202.08 meters – below the normal operating level of 210 meters and normal high of 212. Last year, PAGASA had warned of low water supply due to an El Niño episode from 2018 until mid-2019.
On June 29 last year, the water in Angat fell below its critical level of 157.96 meters. Water supply for irrigation and power generation at the dam is suspended when the level falls below 180 meters. In Metro Manila, east zone concessionaire Manila Water began rationing water and had to cut off supply in several areas for days on end. Maynilad shared water from the west zone to ease the crisis in the east sector, and the entire Metro Manila eventually felt the water shortage.
While PAGASA says its does not see a similar acute water shortage this summer, it is also urging people to start preparing for low water supply. Apart from storing water for large-scale consumption such as irrigation, the public is being urged to be mindful of practices that promote the efficient utilization of water.
The approach of the dry season should also lead to intensified efforts to develop and install water recycling systems especially in industrial operations. The required initial investment may be significant, but it can be cost-effective in the long term for offices, industries and building owners to install water recycling systems.
As the global population continues to grow, putting a strain on limited resources, fresh water supply is increasingly becoming a problem around the planet. It’s never too early to develop mitigation measures and improve water management.