MANILA, Philippines – The water elevation level at the Angat Dam may hit its critical point of 160 meters within or at the end of this week, according to the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) on Monday.
NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David said in a press briefing that they are expecting this scenario since the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said there will be a monsoon break, which will mean low rainfall as the weather shifts.
“Ito po ay nakikita natin sa ngayon, kung magpapatuloy po yung sitwasyon at walang ulan na papasok, kung magpapatuloy ‘yan, baka ho ma-reach ho natin or dumating po don sa 160 meter critical level by the end of the week,” David told reporters in NWRB’s office in Diliman, Quezon City.
“Kung susundan natin yung projection ng Pagasa, aangat po ‘yan (pero) ‘pag monsoon break po kasi wala masyadong pag-ulan particular po sa area ng Angat watershed […] most likely bababa pa yan in the next couple of days,” he added.
David said that as of 6:00 a.m., Angat Dam’s water level was at the 162.39 meter level. If the level dips further to the 160 meter mark, water consumers in Metro Manila and nearby provinces who benefit from the dam would experience interruptions, just like in 2010.
“(Year) 2010 po yung pinakahuli na bumaba ang Angat Dam sa 160 meters na elevation, identified din na El Niño year. Although sinasabi ng Pagasa na ‘it’s a weak El Niño’, pero kung pinag-uusapan yung supply sa Angat watershed, hindi pa rin ganun kaganda ang sitwasyon,” he explained.
Just this Friday, Pagasa declared the start of the rainy season. However, rains around Angat have been rare.
READ: Plip, plip, ploop, plip: Pagasa officially declares rainy season
NWRB ensured that they are implementing measures to address the issues, although they called on consumers to use water wisely.
“We suspended our allocation for irrigation, starting no’ng May 10, naka-focus na po purely for domestic supply, nagstart na ‘yon (pero) patuloy po siyang bumababa,” David noted.
READ: NWRB readies measures should Angat Dam breaches 160 meter mark
From March to May, many customers in Metro Manila experienced water interruptions, attributed to dwindling water supply from Angat and the La Mesa Dam.
READ: Water level in Angat Dam further drops
The government is checking on new water sources, with officials saying that the Chinese-funded Kaliwa Dam is the best solution to water shortage in the capital region.
READ: Water supply shortage? China-funded Kaliwa Dam would ‘absolutely’ help, says Dominguez
However, opposition groups have warned against deals with China, especially after it was revealed that patrimonial assets like the Recto Bank can be seized if the Philippines fails to pay its loans. (Editor: Julie Espinosa)
READ: China could seize gas in Reed Bank if PH can’t pay loans – Carpio
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