By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
The water level at Angat Dam, the major source of Metro Manila’s domestic water, could breach its 180-meter low water level by end of April.
Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) hydrologist Gine Nievares explained that the projected 180-meter level by end of April was based on the weekly average deviation of Angat Dam’s water level, monthly rainfall forecast, and current water allocation for irrigation and domestic needs.
The current level of Angat Dam as of Sunday was 195.91 meters, a third of a meter lower than the 196.24 meters the previous day.
Nievares said the last time Angat Dam reached its low water level of 180 meter was in May 2014 and May 2015. An El Niño event also occurred in 2015.
However, she allayed the fears of the public that the Angat Dam could affect the domestic water requirements of Metro Manila.
Should the Angat Dam reaches its 180-meter low water level, Nievares said the supply of domestic water would remain normal.
Under the National Water Resources Board’s (NWRB) protocol in the release of water from Angat Dam, water releases for irrigation needs in Bulacan and Pampanga will be temporarily halted once the dam’s level falls below its 180-meter minimum operating level.
The domestic water supply to Metro Manila is prioritized over irrigation and power generation.
Angat Dam currently supplies 96 percent of Metro Manila’s domestic water needs.
However, Nievares said if the water level at Angat Dam reaches the 160-meter critical level, domestic supply in Metro Manila will be significantly affected.
The dam breached its 160-meter critical level in 2010.