Angat Dam to breach minimum operating level in 3 days; NWRB begins low water allocation for CL irrigation May 1

Published April 25, 2019, 11:02 AM

by AJ Siytangco

By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

With Angat Dam projected to breach its minimum operating level of 180 meters in three days, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) will be implementing lower water allocation for irrigation in Central Luzon starting May 1 to preserve the supply for Metro Manila’s domestic water requirements during the dry season.

DANGEROUS BEAUTY — The 49-year-old Angat Dam undergoes long-awaited rehabilitation to ensure it does not reach the doomsday scenario of a dam break in the event of a very strong earthquake. (Freddie C. Velez)
Angat Dam in Bulacan (Freddie Velez/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The water level at Angat Dam, which is the main source of 96 percent of Metro Manila’s domestic water requirements and irrigation of about 27,000 hectares of farmlands in  Bulacan and Pampanga, continued to decline due to lack of rain and increase in demand.

As of Thursday morning, NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. said Angat Dam’s water elevation was at 181.15 meters. This is further down by 0.48 meters from 181.63 last Wednesday.

“It is projected to breach the minimum operating level of 180 meters in three days,” David said.

Angat Dam’s normal high water level during the rainy season is 212 meters.

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 or reduced once the dam’s level falls below its 180-meter minimum operating level.

In this scenario, the domestic water supply for Metro Manila is prioritized over irrigation and power generation.

“The Board has approved a reduction of allocation for irrigation from an average of 35 cubic meters per second (cms) in April to 10 cubic meters per second in May,” David said.

Meanwhile, NWRB will maintain the 48 cms allocation for the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for distribution to its concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water.

David pointed out that the lower water allocation for the National Irrigation Administration “will not have significant impact on irrigation as they (farmlands) are near the harvesting period.”

However, the NWRB official reiterated their call to the public to continue to conserve water amid the continuous decline in Angat Dam’s water level.