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Metro water supply cut anew

THE only hope to improve water supply in Metro Manila lies in Tropical Depression “Kabayan” which is expected to hit Aurora province on Friday and increase the sinking water level at Angat and Ipo dams, the authorities said Thursday.

Water managers made the assessment after the National Water Resources Board announced that it has decided to further reduce the water allocation for Metro Manila from the 38 cubic meters per second last month to 36 cms.

“This necessary reduction is determined to manage the water from the Angat reservoir during the period of this extraordinary El Niño which is projected to last until June 2016,” said NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. who announced the reduction on Thursday.

David said the NWRB Board has decided to approve a standby allocation of 10 cubic meters per second for irrigation use in the 14,000-hectare Angat-Maasim River Irrigation System (AMRIS) area starting Oct. 16.

Water level at Angat Dam is at least 189.91 meters on Thursday, 20.09 meters below its normal high water level.

Maynilad Water Services Inc., which supplies Metro Manila’s west zone, said it has not yet received a copy of the decision, but it will cause longer supply interruptions.

“At 36 CMS allocation, the number of Maynilad customers affected by reduced supply availability and pressure may increase, and the current seven-hour daily water service interruptions [from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.] may lengthen,” Maynilad said in a statement.

“This is assuming that no rains will fall at the Ipo Dam, which helps to alleviate reduced allocations from Angat Dam,” Maynilad added, hoping that water levels will increase after Kabayan hits Luzon.

“However, Ipo Dam has a small holding capacity. Given this, we shall give our customers two days’ advance notice before the reduced allocation will start to have an effect on our service levels,” Maynilad added.

The company said that it will continue to coordinate with Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and other Angat Dam stakeholders to ensure that water level at Angat Dam is protected, and that water consumers in Metro Manila will continue to have water for their daily needs through the summer months of 2016 despite the strong El Niño.

For the east zone, Manila Water Company Inc. Corporate Communications head Jeroc Sevilla Jr. said that the company will continue with its seven-hour water pressure reduction.

“Since it has just been announced, we will still continue with our pressure reduction from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily as we recalibrate if there is need to adjust this scheme,” Sevilla said. “We will inform our customers at least two to three days before we implement a new scheme.”

According to the latest Pagasa update, about 69 percent of the country will experience the drought and dry spell by the end of the year.

Effects will intensify in the first quarter next year where 68 provinces or 85 percent nationwide will be hit.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said at least 20 areas in Luzon are now under public storm warning signal no. 1 as Kabayan accelerated and intensified.

Pagasa weather forecaster Benison Estareja said the eye of Kabayan was estimated 105 kms north northeast of Daet, Camarines Norte and was packing maximum winds of 55 kph near the center. It is forecast to move northwest at 20 kph.

He said tropical depression Kabayan is expected to make landfall in Aurora province on Friday morning and will likely pass between Northern and Central Luzon.

If Kabayan maintains its speed and movement, it will exit the country on Saturday morning, heading towards China, Estareja said.

Public storm warning signal no. 1 (30-60 kph Expected in 36 hrs.) was hoisted over the provinces of Southern Isabela, Ifugao, Mt. Province, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Benguet, Nueva Viscaya, Nueva Ecija, Quirino, Pangasinan, Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Aurora and Northern Quezon including Polillo Island.

The estimated rainfall amount is from moderate to heavy within the 200-km diameter of the tropical depression.

Estareja said the tropical depression will bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains and isolated thunderstorms over Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calbarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, and Western Visayas.

Over the next 24 hours, Pagasa said that rains with gusty winds may prevail over Central Luzon, Bicol region and the provinces of Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Benguet, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Isabela, Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya and Northern Quezon, including Polillo Island.

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