Metro Manila’s water woes may ease up but just a bit as Angat’s water level rose for the second straight day at 6 a.m. on Monday with the continuous rainfall brought about by tropical depression “Egay.”
Angat’s water level rose to 159.85 meters above sea level (masl) from Sunday’s 158.64 masl, just a tad below its critical low level of 160 masl. La Mesa Dam’s level also rose to 71.76 masl from Sunday’s 71.50.
About seven kilometers downstream of Angat, also located in Norzagaray, Bulacan, water level at the Ipo Dam was at 100.06 masl Monday from Sunday’s 100.61 masl which was close to its normal level of 100.1 masl.
Normal water level for Angat is 210 masl while for La Mesa, it’s 80.15 masl. Angat and La Mesa are part of the Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water system.
Angat supplies about 90 percent of NCR’s water needs through the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System. It also irrigates about 28,000 hectares of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga.
Exiting so soon?
In a country pummelled non-stop by tropical storms, the rainy weather needed to bring water levels at the dams to normal levels may not persist as “Egay” is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility by Tuesday morning.
The low water levels at Angat and La Mesa have impacted negatively on the capability of water concessionaires in Metro Manila, especially Maynilad, to provide potable water to their customers.
The decline has resulted in rotational water service interruptions for months now, with the two concessionaires hard-pressed to explain to lawmakers their failure to meet their obigations.
Maynilad and Manila Water have yet to issue definite statements as to when the water supply for their customers would normalize.
Rains not enough
On Sunday, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the heavy monsoon rains in the past few days may not be enough to bring water levels to normal.
The agency said a lot would depend on whether other weather systems would bring about rains over watersheds that feed Angat, including the Sierra Madre Mountain watershed near the boundary of Quezon and Rizal provinces.
PAGASA hydrologist Richard Orendain said over the weekend that water levels at dams may increase even if there’s less or no rains on Monday as “the waters from the mountains will take some time to travel to the watershed.”
PAGASA said it expects at least two to three storms this month. “Egay” was not expected to make landfall, but it still brought monsoon rains to Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Mimaropa and the provinces of Bataan, Pangasinan and Zambales on Monday.
Yellow rainfall warning was raised over the metro on Monday with “Egay,” according to PAGASA, “almost not moving” at 205 kilometers east of Cagayan.
Senior weather specialist Chris Perez said Signal No. 1 remained over Batanes and the Babuyan Group of Islands.
He said the southwest monsoon or “habagat” will bring light to moderate and at times heavy rains over Luzon, including Metro Manila, as well as Western Visayas.
Monsoon rains are expected to continue over Metro Manila, the Ilocos Region, Cordillera, Zambales, Bataan, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan, Mindoro Provinces and Palawan, the weather bureau said.