Imee: Water Security At Risk As Pandemic Continues

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Senator Imee Marcos has expressed alarm at the growing risk to water security as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers on, with Angat Dam’s water supply steadily diminishing despite the rains.

“The increased use of water for personal hygiene and public sanitation amid the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be outrunning the amount of rain that is supposed to refill Angat,” Marcos said.

The water level at Angat dam – the main source of water for Metro Manila – has steadily fallen from almost 200 meters since a lockdown in mid-March to less than 186 meters, as of Tuesday, July 14.

The present water level is almost 20 meters below the normal operating level of 205 meters and less than 6 meters away from the minimum operating level of 180 meters.

“We may hit the critical level of 160 meters by October, if the trend continues. Should we cut down on washing our hands and cleaning our surroundings to prevent water interruptions?” Marcos asked.

Marcos blamed the lack of water security on the continuing failure of Manila Water and Maynilad to meet their obligations to the public in a 1997 water concession contract they signed with the government.

“The end of June marked the 20th anniversary of failure by Manila Water and Maynilad to fulfill their promise of providing a 24-hour supply of drinking-quality water to Metro Manila and neighboring cities in Cavite and Rizal by June 30, 2000,” Marcos said.

The Supreme Court also ruled last year that the water concessionaires violated the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004 in missing their deadline to build waste water treatment systems in their respective service areas five years after the law took effect, Marcos added.