By Hannah Torregoza
Re-electionist Senator Maria Lourdes Nancy Binay on Tuesday called on the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) to thresh out their conflicting statements with regard to the apparent water shortage in Metro Manila so as not to confuse the public.
Binay noted that the MWSS and Pagasa’s conflicting statements on the water shortage issue have only increased public confusion.
“Ang sabi ng MWSS at PAGASA meron sapat na supply ng tubig ang Angat Dam. Ang sabi naman ng Manila Water kulang na raw ang tubig kaya may shortage, pero ang Maynilad, willing magpahiram ng tubig sa Manila Water (MWSS and Pagasa claim there is enough water in the Angat Dam. While Manila Water said there is water shortage, but Maynilad said they are willing to lend water to Manila Water),” Binay said in a statement.
“Ano ba talaga, kuya? Mas lalo lang natin nililito ang publiko, (So what is the real score? We are confusing the public even more),” Binay lamented.
Manila Water, which supplies the eastern portion of Metro Manila, is struggling to provide stable water supply to its consumers, but its counterpart, Maynilad, continues to maintain normal operations.
Both companies draw water from the Angat Dam in Bulacan, which supplies 96 percent of Metro Manila’s requirements. The La Mesa Dam is supposed to be a reserve facility once Angat falls short of supply.
Households in Metro Manila have earlier experienced sudden water interruptions with Manila Water issuing no formal advisory to its consumers.
Binay, however, said the conflicting statements of these agencies are throwing the public into confusion.
“Yun na nga ang nakakalito–magkakaiba ang statement nila. The conflicting statements paint a confusing picture of a water crisis that can trigger panic and further impact on public order,” the senator lamented.
“We should have a clear policy on maintaining water security whenever water supply goes bad. Where is NWRB’s holistic and comprehensive water resource plan and effective water allocation and reuse policies?” she said.
“We have laws like RA 6716, but the lack of enabling policies on water management makes us ill-equipped in addressing these kinds of problems,” she pointed out.
The lawmaker conceded that climate change has adversely affected the country’s water security and the prolonged El Nino and summer season give rise to all sorts of water crises.
“The NWRB’s mandate is to come up with policies and guidelines that would address and resolve water-related issues down to the barangay level,” Binay said.
“Matagal na tayong aware sa climate change maging sa El Niño. Nangyayari ang ganitong krisis sa tubig dahil walang malinaw na polisiya at kahandaan (We have long been aware of climate change, even El Niño. This kind of water crisis is happening because there is no clear policy and readiness),” Binay said.
“We already have a 30-year old law on constructing water catchments nationwide, pero hanggang ngayon isang suggestion pa rin ito, (But until today, this remains a suggestion),” Binay said.