Are water service interruptions becoming a burden in your household? Makes you wish for a solution to the water supply shortage now, right? Well, who doesn’t? Several hours without running water in your faucet can affect your daily routine and hygiene practices. Storing water to tide you over during service interruptions is also no easy task. The question is, why are we experiencing water service interruptions and what is being done about it?
The most obvious reason for water service interruptions is the low level of water supply in our dams. While it is easy for consumers to blame concessionaires for their water problems, dry spells and low amount of rainfall aren’t exactly within the concessionaires’ control. However, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing something about the problem. I recently went to a Maynilad tour visiting Angat, Ipo, and Maynilad’s La Mesa Water Treatment Plant 2 together with members of Mommy Bloggers Philippines. It was here where we discovered the logic behind the water interruptions and the initiatives undertaken by Maynilad to resolve the water service issues.
There are currently two companies providing water services in Metro Manila, Maynilad and Manila Water. Maynilad’s area of coverage includes Caloocan, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Malabon, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Valenzuela, most of Manila, parts of Quezon City and Makati, and some cities and municipalities in Cavite. These areas are referred to as the West Zone. Manila Water provides water service for Marikina, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, Taguig, most of Quezon City, and some areas of Manila and Rizal.
Maynilad Water Services, Inc. is the largest water concessionaire in the Philippines with a customer base of more than 9.7 million people. They offer water and wastewater services for the West Zone of the Greater Manila Area. Their facilities include 4 Water Treatment Plants, 22 Wastewater Treatment Plants, 36 Pumping Stations, 32 Reservoirs, 28 in-line boosters, and a total of 7,713 kilometers water pipelines. These are all regularly maintained to provide clean running water in your homes.
96% of the entire water demand for Metro Manila is sourced from Angat Dam in Norzagaray Bulacan. This covers the demand for both Maynilad and Manila Water. Although the current water level in Angat Dam is still within the minimum operating level, the National Water Resources Board deemed it necessary to reduce raw water allocation until June 2020. This is because water demand usually increases during the summer months and current levels are still lower than ideal. They simply want to take preventive measures against longer water service interruptions during summer months.
Unfortunately, these reduced allocation for water concessionaires also mean that they have less water to supply their customers. Thus, resulting to daily rotational water service interruptions. These scheduled service interruptions is Maynilad’s way to help consumers deal with the supply shortage. That is by giving them time to store water for household supply during service interruptions. If it’s any consolation, water authorities are continuously monitoring water levels and are ready to raise allocations as soon as desired water levels are reached.
Aside from rotational service interruptions, Maynilad has several initiatives in place to help lessen the impact of reduced water supply in the summer months. These measures have been implemented since last year and they include:
- Optimizing the Putatan Water Treatment Plant 1 (PWTP 1) and Commissioning of PWTP 2. These measures allow Maynilad to draw water from Laguna Lake thereby augmenting their potable water supply by 300 million liters per day.
- Reactivating Deep Wells using additional treatment technology to produce potable water.
- Sustaining Reduction of Water Losses. Replacing old pipes and repairing pipe leaks means less water loss and additional supply from water plowed back to the pipe system.
- Purchasing Modular Treatment Plants that will tap rivers in Cavite and is expected to yield an additional 13 million liters per day by April 2020 and another 14 million liters per day by Aug 2020.
Maynilad has also deployed Mobile Water Tankers and Stationary Water Tanks (SWT), and conducted Cloud-seeding Operations to help increase water levels in the dams.
The low water levels in Angat and Ipo dam are caused by several factors including climate change and wasteful use of water. So if you want to solve our water problems then you should also be willing to be part of the solution. We can do this by simply being more responsible in our water use. That is to conserve water as much as possible and be conscious of wasteful practices like leaving the faucet “ON” while brushing teeth or soaping hands.