The spillway of Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan. This photo was taken during a dry spell in
June 2019. – NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. confirms on Monday, February 28, 2022, that the water level in Angat Dam was at 196.28 meters — at least 15.72 meters below its normal high water level of 212 meters. Angat Dam is the main source of water supply in Metro Manila. (File photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila’s water allocation during the coming hot dry season will not change even if Angat Dam’s water levels are “relatively low.”

This was the assurance of National Water Resources Board (NWRB) Executive Director Sevillo David Jr., who said during a press briefing on Monday that water allocation for Metro Manila would still be around 48 cubic meters per second. He even cited that water is a key component in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to David, the water level in Angat Dam was at 196.28 meters — at least 15.72 meters below its normal high water level of 212 meters. Angat Dam is the main source of water supply in Metro Manila.

“So for March, considering that we are still in the period of pandemic, and water is very important […] against the spread of COVID-19, the NWRB has decided to maintain the allocation of water supply for Metro Manila, at around 48 cubic meters per second,” he said.

“So magpapatuloy po ‘yan because of this continuing threat of COVID-19.  And with that, we have been implementing measures to manage the supply para po magkaroon tayo ng efficient and reliable water supply for summer, and of course, pati po siguro paglagpas pa ng summer,” he added.

David also admitted that the water level in Angat Dam is lower than the previous years’ records during the same period.

But he said the NWRB is closely coordinating with other agencies such as the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), National Power Corp., and Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, as well as water concessionaires, to address the limited water supply.

“Masasabi natin na medyo mababa ito compared sa mga previous years,” David said.

“NWRB, in collaboration with the government authorities in charge in managing the supply from Angat Dam, particularly NIA, MWSS, Napocor, Pagasa, saka ‘yong nasa (and also the) concessionaires are implementing measures to manage the limited supply caused by the relatively low level of Angat Dam,” he added.

Apart from Metro Manila, Angat Dam also serves as the primary water source of Rizal, Bulacan, and Cavite.

Water from Angat flows to La Mesa Dam in Quezon City and is then shared by two water concessionaires: Manila Water, which services the eastern part of Metro Manila, and Maynilad, which services the western part.

In 2019, the country suffered a water crisis that forced concessionaires to implement water rotation services because Angat Dam’s water elevation dipped below the 160-meter critical level.

READ: Angat Dam water level hits critical mark anew

Not much interruption was recorded during the hot season of 2020 and 2021, but some observers believe this may be due to reduced movement amid the COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in the imposition of curbs that required people to stay at home — and thus, fewer establishments like malls and hotels were using water.

READ: NWRB chief says enough water in Angat Dam for entire summer

But the national government said Sunday, February 27, that Metro Manila and 38 other areas will be placed under COVID-19 Alert Level 1, which is the lowest alert level for the COVID-19 pandemic, starting March 1.

According to Pagasa, there is no “summer” in the Philippines as the country only has two seasons: wet, which usually runs from June to November, and dry, which usually occurs around December until May. It also said that the dry season is subdivided into two: the cool dry season from December to February and the hot dry season that persists from March to May.

KGA

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