Aquino admin blamed for Metro water shortage | Malaya Business Insight

Reference:
Vigilia, W. (2019, June 26). Aquino admin blamed for Metro water shortage. Malaya Business Insight. Retrieved June 26, 2019 from https://malaya.com.ph/business-news/news/aquino-admin-blamed-metro-water-shortage

Aquino admin blamed for Metro water shortage
By WENDELL VIGILIA – June 26, 2019

INACTION on the part of the previous administration partly led to the ongoing water supply shortage in Metro Manila, according to the administrator of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS).

MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco believes the previous administration had been remiss because it did not take a proactive stance to avert a water crisis.

In a joint oversight hearing of the committee on public works and highways with the committee on environment and natural resources, Velasco agreed with Rep. Winston Castelo (PDP-Laban, Quezon City) that an underlying issue in the water crisis is the “neglect” of the previous administration in the construction of the Kaliwa Dam.

Castelo, who used to be a member of the Liberal Party during the Aquino administration, said the Kaliwa Dam project aims to provide water security, reliability and additional supply for Metro Manila.

The dam’s construction was proposed in 2012 during the Aquino administration but has not been built until now. It is projected that the Kaliwa Dam will provide an additional 600 million liters per day for Metro Manila.

“Do you think that it is safe to assume that had the past administration not been remiss on their duty to roll out the Kaliwa Dam, we would not have experienced this water crisis right now?” Castelo asked Velasco, who answered in the affirmative.

Last March, Velasco announced that the China-funded Kaliwa Dam is set to begin construction in the second quarter of 2019.

Outgoing Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called for the hearing after Angat Dam, which supplies water to Metro Manila and Central Luzon, hit its critical 160-meter level which could further reduce Metro Manila’s water supply.

As of 6 a.m. Monday, the water level was down to 159.09 meters from 159.43 meters on Sunday morning.

Manila Water President and CEO Engr. Ferdinand Dela Cruz lamented that Metro Manila had become over-dependent on Angat Dam and suggested that the government look into the construction of additional reservoirs.

Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado (PDP-Laban, Bulacan), who presided over the hearing, said more dams will have to be constructed in Quezon, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and in Bulacan to serve 12 million residents of Metro Manila.

While there are only five days left before the term of all members of the 17th Congress ends, the joint panel still adopted Arroyo’s House Bill 8068 which seeks the creation of the Department of Water, Irrigation, Sewage and Sanitation Resource Management.

“We really need an efficient system to address this mismanagement of our water supply,” said Sy-Alvarado, criticizing the practice of releasing excess water from dams which he said should be used for irrigation.

Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) chief Jeci Lapus has been proposing the creation of a Department of Water as a long-term solution to the water crisis in Metro Manila.

Lapus also proposed that a short-term solution could be to direct the water districts in the country to apportion their resources to the affected areas although a major concern would be the actual transportation of water supply.

Dela Cruz also reported that the current rotational water interruption had already been shortened from 23 hours to 16 hours per day.

Manila Water supplies 135 to 140 million liters daily to its consumers in Metro Manila.

Category: National | Malaya Business Insight

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