U.S. Water News Online
MANILA, The Phillipines -- As the Angat Dam water supply
situation continues to deteriorate, the state of groundwater reserves
in Metro Manila has already reached critical level, Manila Rep.
Rodolfo Bacani said, as he urged the residents to brace for a
"precarious water supply" during summer in April and May.
Bacani, vice chairman of the special committee on Metro Manila
Development in the House of Representatives, batted for the immediate
reactivation of an inter-agency task force on water conservation to
plan water conservation strategies that would be carried out during
the dry months.
He also urged local government units in Metro Manila to create
special price watch enforcement teams that will crack down on abusive
water refilling stations and bottled water manufacturers who might
exploit the looming water shortage problem by jacking up prices.
At the same time, Bacani asked the Metropolitan Waterworks and
Sewerage System to expedite the repair of the AngatUmiray
transmission tunnel which boosts water supply in Angat River, Metro
Manila's main source of surface water.
The Angat-Umiray water transmission tunnel has been blocked by
logs, debris, and mud swept from the mountains of Aurora and Quezon
during the devastating floods last December.
Bacani revealed that as the Angat Dam water level has started to
plunge towards the critical level, ground water, an alternative
source in waterless areas in the metropolis, has now reached the
According to the lawmaker, concern over the critical situation of
groundwater in Metro Manila has prompted the National Water Resources
Board (NWRB) to launch a massive drive to stop the unauthorized use
of wells and pumps in many areas.
"The situation of the Angat water level and groundwater reserves
in the metropolis is quite worrisome and calls on every Metro Manila
resident to join a conservation campaign that might last even after
summer is over," he said.
In a recent congressional hearing, George Estioko, head of the
NWRB monitoring and enforcement division, told lawmakers that the
status of ground water in Metro Manila had already reached the
"We are now conducting a massive program to monitor the operation
of illegal wells. The NWRB has also stopped issuing permits for both
single and community-use water pumps," he said.
However, Bacani urged the NWRB not to shut down barangay water
pumps that have been very useful in filling the need for water in dry
"I hope that unless it is very necessary, the NWRB will not stop
many of our urban poor settlers who draw water from pumps," he said.
Bacani said Metro Manila residents should do their share in the
water conservation efforts recommended by the government.
"Local government units, on the other hand, should see to it that
water refilling stations and distributors of bottled water do not
take advantage of the situation," he added.
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