Summer heat pushes water demand in Metro Manila

Published April 29, 2021, 5:00 PM

by Madelaine B. Miraflor

The summer heat has pushed water demand in a lot of areas in the metropolis, causing the water level in the Bagbag reservoir – which is Maynilad Water Services Inc.’s biggest reservoir – to decline, which eventually led to rotational service interruptions.

This prompted Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Chairman Reynaldo Velasco to instruct Maynilad to maximize the use of Putatan Water Treatment Plant 2 in Laguna Lake as well as accelerate the completion of its nonrevenue water (NRW) reduction projects to ensure water availability in the west zone.

MWSS Chairman and OIC Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco (Photo credit: https://mwss.gov.ph/board-of-trustees/)

“The impact of COVID-19 pandemic should even more prompt us to take every step to ensure adequate water supply this summer,” Velasco further said.

He made the order after the availability of water in the West Zone has declined last week. Because of this, thousands of customers under the influence area of Bagbag reservoir had to endure rotational service interruptions.

The high demand, as a result of scalding summer heat, depleted Bagbag’s reserves that it had to cut service in some areas during off-peak hours, according to MWSS.  

Metro Manila is getting 90 percent of its water needs from Angat Dam, which releases 4 million liters of water per day (mld).

Of this, Maynilad gets an allocation of about 2,400 mld, while Manila Water Company Inc. gets the remaining 1,600 mld.

Bagbag reservoir is where Maynilad’s water reserve is stored.

Meanwhile, Velasco also told Maynilad to maximize the alternative sources of supply from Cavite. 

Made possible by a deal with National Irrigation Administration (NIA), the west zone concessionaire now treats raw irrigation water from Imus using mobile water treatment plants.  

Ronald Padua, vice president for water supply operations divisions at Maynilad, said due to rising demand, even the reserve water of the company is already being consumed every day.

“The demand, including consumption and losses [NRW] in the system, the water that we have coming from two water sources [Angat and Laguna Lake] are already being maximized,” Padua said during Maynilad’s Earth Day Talk last week.

To compensate for this, Padua said Maynilad is doing intensive leak repairs to reduce NRW as well as it started tapping water from small dams of NIA which is originally intended for irrigation.


“We have the coordination to withdraw from those small dams in Cavite,” Padua said, adding that this development was made possible as more farms in Cavite are being converted into small subdivisions.

Business Bulletin had sought NIA for data regarding the amount of irrigation water currently being lent to MWSS concessionaires, but it has not yet released such information. 

To stabilize supply in the East and West concession areas, the MWSS also temporarily increased the raw water allocation of Maynilad at the Novaliches Portal by 30 mld on top of its 2,400 mld or 60 percent share from Angat reservoir releases.  

Meanwhile, Manila Water will augment its 40 percent share from Angat by drawing from the La Mesa Reservoir.

The temporary raw water sharing should trigger higher levels of water availability in the West concession area with the continuous build-up of water pressure in the pipelines and reduced refill time of the Bagbag reservoir, MWSS said.

 
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