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DENR warns of water rationing in Metro Manila

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) yesterday warned of possible water rationing if residents, particularly in Metro Manila, will not practice conservation measures amid the impact of the El Niño phenomenon and the dry season.

The DENR could only assure an uninterrupted water supply in Metro Manila until April as the water level in Angat Dam continues to decline, Environment Undersecretary Carlos David said in a radio interview.

“Even though we are doing various interventions, residents in Metro Manila need to conserve water so that we will not reach the point where we need to resort to rationing and interruption in the supply,” David said.

As of 6 a.m. yesterday, the water level of Angat Dam reached 198.15 meters or 0.29 meters less than its previous level of 198.44 meters. It was 13.85 meters below its normal high water level of 212 meters.

It is, however, still 18.15 meters above its minimum operating level of 180 meters.

“We are still OK because of our interventions. It is still far (from the critical) level and we are confident at least in April our supply is still OK,” David added.

According to David, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) took advantage of the Holy Week to decrease the water allocation for Metro Manila by at least one cubic centimeter per second for four days as many of the residents were in their respective provinces.

“We were able to save one cms and that could supply at least 500,000 people,” David added.

In a separate message to The STAR, Maynilad corporate communications head Jennifer Rufo said that while the NWRB has already expressed its plan to reduce the water allocation for Metro Manila from the current 50 cms to 48 cms starting April 16, she expressed hope that the board will reconsider its decision.