Recent rains not enough to refill dams

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La Mesa Dam water level remains critical at 68.55m as of the morning of May 9. Although there have been rains brought about by thunderstorms of late, it is not yet sufficient for La Mesa to reach its normal level of 78 to 79 meters. Photo taken last April 15, 2019 shows dried up portions of the reservoir.

While there has been a spate of sporadic rains for the past few days as a result of thunderstorms, these are still not enough to refill the dams, especially Angat and La Mesa Dams.

Jeric Sevilla, Manila Water group head for Corporate Strategic Affairs, warns that the situation may actually get worse before it gets better. “We welcome the rains that has been pouring over Metro Manila these past few days. But we cannot rest easy with it. Firstly, the rains are still not sufficient to refill La Mesa Dam to its normal operating level of 78 to 79 meters. While the heavy rains last night added 10 centimeters to the level of La Mesa Dam, the level of 68.55 meters, as of 5:00 AM, May 8, is still way below the critical level of 69 meters. We still need a lot more and continuous days of that much rain for us to refill La Mesa. Secondly, even if we are able to refill La Mesa and we begin to draw water from it again to augment the still-deficient water supply, it is certain that we will encounter water quality issues,” Sevilla adds.

He further explains that since La Mesa is coming from sub-critical levels, earth that have been previously submerged has since been exposed and may turn to mud when watered by rains raising the level of the raw water's turbidity. “We need to prepare for this eventuality because it takes time for water to return to normal turbidity levels,” Sevilla further explains.

Sevilla, however, assures customers that, should these occur, Manila Water will continue to ensure that the water they distribute passes the stringent Philippine National Standard for Drinking Water (PNSDW), as set by the Department of Health (DOH).

Manila Water continues to make progress on its service recovery efforts. As of May 8, the company has achieved 98% water availability of at least 8 hours at 7 psi, or at ground floor level. It has also reached 72% 24-hour water availability at 7 psi. The company continues to work on various distribution solutions to address pocket areas of less than 8 hours of supply. Cardona Water Treatment Plant has been producing 50 million liters per day (MLD) and Deep Wells have augmented the Angat Water Supply with production of 30 MLD. Cross-border flows are at 16 MLD.

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