Gov't vows no water scarcity in Metro Manila this year

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 4) — Citing the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Thursday assured millions of Metro Manila residents they will not face water shortages for the whole year.

"According to the MWSS Chair and OIC Administrator Reynaldo Velasco, we expect to have sufficient water supply this year in Metro Manila. Wala po tayong water shortage dito sa Maynila (We will not have a water shortage here in Metro Manila)," Nograles said in a briefing on Wednesday's Cabinet meeting.

Nograles also reported the MWSS is working to hasten the implementation of several projects that seek to address the region's water requirement in the long run.

On March 7, 2019, customers of Manila Water were surprised by an unannounced water interruption. For at least a week, 1.2 million customers had no water supply or low water pressure. The water concessionaire attributed the shortage to decreasing water levels at the La Mesa reservoir in Quezon City due to the dry spell.

In June of the same year, the National Water Resources Board, the agency responsible for all water resources, cut the water allocation for about 12 million Metro Manila residents to only 36 cubic meters per second (m³/s) from the normal 48 m³/s. This pushed concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water to implement rotational water service interruptions. The reduced allocation was meant to prevent the water level of Angat Dam, the biggest water source of Metro Manila, from receding further. Its level at the time dropped below the 160-meter critical mark multiple times. It only recovered in August 2019.

Meanwhile, Nograles said the Department of Energy has not given any indication the country will experience electricity supply shortages.

"No indication was made na magkakaroon tayo ng problema sa kuryente (that we will have problems with electricity)," he said.