DENR to open deep wells it previously shut to augment water supply

Published March 15, 2019, 5:30 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Alexandria Dennise San Juan 

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said on Monday that it would temporarily open deep wells it previously shut down to augment the water supply for east zone clients of concessionaire Manila Water amid an ongoing water shortage in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said in a press conference at his office in Quezon City that the agency, through its National Water Resources Board (NWRB) will activate previously sealed deep wells by next month to mitigate the current water crisis.


Antiporda said this was arrived at during a meeting initiated by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu and attended by representatives of Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water, and NWRB on Thursday to come up with measures in addressing the problem.

According to Antiporda, they are expecting to source at least 30 million liters per day (MLD) of water upon opening the deep wells, while another 50 MLD will be collected beyond April.

Through opening the deep wells, Antiporda said it will help in addressing Manila Water’s shortage of 150 MLD, which will also be augmented by Maynilad, which has assured on giving it 20 MLD of water this month, and 50 MLD on April.

The Cardona Treatment Plant will also share around 22 MLD of water before the end of March and an additional of 28 MLD next month, said Antiporda.

“The people have nothing to worry about. Yung situation natin ay hindi na magwoworsen, mag-iimprove siya especially kumikilos na po lahat,” he assured.

With the hazards that the deep wells may pose, the environment undersecretary said that these will only be open up to October when the rainy season is expected to start.

“Kapag ganyang mga sitwasyon kasi, we go for lesser evil. Kailangan ito. Mas maraming maililigtas at saka temporary naman hindi naman gagawing permanente,” Antiporda explained.

He said that these deep wells will also be heavily regulated and monitored by the NWRB and MWSS.

The DENR is yet to announce what deep wells will be allowed to open again but added that it will probably those deep wells among areas affected by the water crisis in Metro Manila only.

“Ang makikinabang dito ay ang taumbayan, hindi gobyerno, hindi negosyante, so, we need to decide on it. Iyan yung naisip natin na magawa immediately dahil grabe na yung sitwasyon natin,” he added.

Meanwhile, Antiporda also defended that statements saying the water shortage was only artificial were “baseless accusations,” adding that there were really problems and lapses on why the Manila Water management failed to foresee it.

“We will still look into it if ever na artifical ito, ano naman ang mga agenda? But as far as the DENR is concerned wala po tayong nakikitang artificial dito, talagang mayroon lang problema at nagkaroon ng lapses bakit hindi naforesee ito,” he said.