Marikina River eyed to supply water in Metro Manila – MWSS

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The Marikina River is among the new water sources being prepared to address Metro Manila's needs as Angat Dam struggles to keep up with the demand.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 30) — Utility firms supplying water to Metro Manila are now looking to tap new sources such as the Marikina River and an irrigation facility in Cavite amid supply concerns, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) revealed Wednesday.

Jose Alfredo B. Escoto, Jr., head of MWSS Field Operations Management, said concessionaires are now exploring alternative water sources as the Angat Dam in Bulacan continues to dip.

READ: Water interruptions to hit Metro Manila

Escoto said both Maynilad and Manila Water Company have undertaken "augmentation programs" to boost dwindling supply.

The MWSS official said the Ayala-led concessionaire is looking to extract water from the Marikina River, which falls well within the east zone, its service area. Escoto said raw water will be processed by portable treatment plants and is expected to supply an additional 40 million liters per day (MLD).

For the west zone, the regulator said Maynilad has also bared its plan to tap supply from an old irrigation system in Cavite. This would also go through mobile treatment plants and add about 27 MLD for its customers. Maynilad Corporate Communications Head Jennifer Rufo said the plan came after the dams run by the National Irrigation Administration had no more rice fields to support, with some of them converted into subdivisions or industrial space.

"That will be operational I think within the first half of next year," Escoto said during the Wednesday Roundtable with the media, referring to both plans.

READ: MWSS says another water crisis is ‘possible’ with Angat Dam’s decreasing water level

Water level in the Angat Dam stood at 186.66 meters as of 8 a.m. Wednesday, slightly above the 180-meter minimum operating level. However, authorities opted to scale down allocations for the two Metro Manila service providers without substantial rainfall adding to dam supply. This had led to rotating supply interruptions that started October 24.

The regulator has set a target for the Angat Dam — Metro Manila's main water source — to reach 212 meters by yearend to ensure ample supply until the summer of 2020.

The concessionaires also said they are reactivating deep wells for raw water. Maynilad has been tapping the Laguna Lake since 2010 for additional supply, while Manila Water also relies on supply from its water treatment plant in Cardona, Rizal. Escoto also defended the controversial China-funded Kaliwa Dam proposal spanning the provinces of Quezon and Rizal, saying that the project is "viable" amid criticisms.

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