QUEZON CITY, June 24 (PIA)--Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu called on local government units (LGUs) in Metro Manila to prioritize the passing of an ordinance directing their constituents to observe water conservation practices.
Metro Manila is experiencing water shortage since March due to the continuous depletion of water in Angat Dam that supplies more than 90 percent of water in the National Capital Region.
"It is high time that the LGUs pass ordinances geared at water conservation to prevent the water problem from worsening," Cimatu said.
He explained that these ordinances would have "immediate positive effect" to the water and food security being pushed at the national level by agencies like the DENR, the Department of Agriculture, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and the National Irrigation Authority (NIA).
"The LGUs have proven themselves how pivotal they are to the success of national environmental programs like the Boracay and Manila Bay rehabilitation," Cimatu said.
He added: "They (LGUs) are again being called upon to take the challenge to lead their constituents practice water conservation. We should all do our part."
The DENR chief is also urging Metro Manila residents to continue water conservation measures even it's already onset of rainy season.
He also advise residents to collect and recycle rain showers to help prevent further decline of the water level in Angat Dam.
Angat Dam supplies more than 90 percent of tap water in Metro Manila. (Photo courtesy of MWSS)
"Angat Dam can still benefit from the rains falling outside its watershed if these are collected for non-essential uses such as for carwashing and flushing of toilets," Cimatu said.
Though heavy rainfall have been recently observed in many parts of Metro Manila, the 62,300-hectare Angat Watershed Reservation receives insufficient rain.
According to Cimatu, simple water conservation measures could help lessen the demand for Angat Dam's water in the millions of liters.
The water in Angat Dam, which supplies 96 percent of Metro Manila's tap water needs for its 12.8 million residents, comes from the watershed's river basin that straddles the towns of Dona Remedios Trinidad, Norzagaray and San Jose Del Monte in Bulacan.
"We can reduce water wastage by using only what is required. We can also collect and reuse rainwater," Cimatu said.
He noted that the insufficient rainfall over Angat watershed is compounded by the "monsoon breaks" which PAGASA explained is a shift between weather systems that result in short breaks to no rainfall for several days or weeks.
As of 6 a.m. Monday (June 24), the water level was down to 159.09 meters compared to the 159.43 meters on Sunday morning. The dam's critical level mark is 160 meters.
The last time that the 160-meter mark was breached was in 2010 when the water level dipped to 157.57 meters which resulted in water rationing.
In a previous press briefing, NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David disclosed that they will put the dam on the Low Level Outlet (LLO) mode once the 160-meter mark is breached, which involves opening of the dam's bottom channel.
David said test have been conducted for the turbidity of the water released from the LLO and that the results show the water quality is "manageable," meaning its quality is fit for treatment by the two water concessioners, Maynilad and Manila Water. (PIA Info Comm/DENR)