Senator Grace Poe on Thursday, April 21 asked water concessionaires and concerned government agencies to intensify their collaborative efforts to mitigate the impact of the dry season on water supply across the country.
"We need all hands on deck to ably manage the water requirements of our consumers especially in the face of another possible virus surge. Complacency certainly has no place in these back-to-back threats," Poe said.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) had said water level at Angat Dam is dwindling due to lack of rainfall, threatening the supply of water in the National Capital Region (NCR) and adjacent provinces.
Located in Norzagaray, Bulacan, the dam supplies about 90 percent of Metro Manila's water requirement. The reservoir is also the major source of irrigation for farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga.
"We expect our water concessionaires to deliver on their commitments under their renewed franchise and revised concession agreement, and complete the projects necessary to have safe and reliable water on the taps," Poe, chairperson of the Senate public services committee, reminded.
In its Resolution 2022-02-CA, the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Regulatory Office earlier imposed a penalty of P63,973,362 to Maynilad Water Services Inc. (Maynilad) and ordered it to give rebates to affected west zone consumers for the "unusual and prolonged water service interruptions from December 2021 to February 2022.”
Maynilad announced on Wednesday that it would implement new rotational water service interruptions "to maximize limited supply and ensure all customers will have some water supply daily," citing the National Water Resources Board's (NWRB’s) move to further reduce raw water allocation from Angat Dam for the concessionaire starting June 27.
"The dry season comes year in and year out. It shouldn't be an outright excuse for unduly prolonging water service interruptions when definitely much can still be done," Poe said.
"It would be a disservice to fail our people in their most basic need at this time of struggle to recover from the pandemic," she added.