Looming water crisis seen

CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan – The looming water crisis that is expected to hit Metro Manila due to the dwindling water supply at the Angat dam reservoir was an “omen” foreseen almost a decade ago by a top executive of the province.

The aging rock-filled dam is like the proverbial “Sword of Damocles” hanging over the heads of Bulakenyos as well as residents of the National Capital Region, according to Second District Rep. Gavini Pancho.

Pancho announced the other day that a water crisis is imminent because the water level at Angat dam, which supplies 97 percent of the water needs of Metro Manila and nearby environs, is rapidly dwindling.

He said the recent rains brought by the Southwest monsoons failed to increase the elevation which he said should be more than the 200 meters mark by this time.

From 189 meters, the water level only surges to 195 meters or 5 meters short of the 200 meters mark.

The solon also said that water concessionaires will now have to partake 10 percent of the already limited allocation of irrigation water intended for farmers in Bulacan and Pampanga.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System was reported to be eying the building of new dams to address the looming water crisis.

This imminent problem was foreseen almost a decade ago by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alavardo, who was then the vice governor.

Alvarado said MWSS is pushing for the construction of the Laiban dam project as a new source of water for Metro Manila.

Alvarado added that MWSS also gave the following reasons why the Laiban dam project should push through: 1) Angat dam is old, 41 years old (2009) and its lifespan is only 30 years; 2) the reservoir is heavily silted, an indication of rampant illegal loggi9ng, quarrying and mining near and within its watershed area; 3) the Marikina or West Valley fault line runs thru the main dikes of Angat dam according to Dr. Kaare Hoeg of the Norwegian Technical Institute and 5) presence of crack inside the dam penstock.

These revelations, Alvarado said, showed a more “clear and present danger”.

The MWSS he said insisted the solution is the Laiban dam project, which eventuially “crashed” after the administration of then President Cory Aquino shelved the project on December 1989 to give priority to the more practical projects like the Angat Water Supply Optimizing Project or AWSOP and the Umiray-Angat Transbasin Project, which the MWSS Board of Trustees approved under Kapasyahan Bilang 195-89. –Emil G. Gamos

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