Don’t you just hate it when water service interruptions occur?
It’s such a hassle isn’t it?
If you could do something to help address the water shortage would you do it?
I would! Water is an integral part of our daily lives and these service interruptions can really disrupt our daily routine.
Residents of Metro Manila started to experience rotational water supply last year. As early as now water concessionaires are reminding its customers that this situation may last throughout the summer months. This can be frustrating for consumers especially those who are fetching water from roving water tanks during said interruptions. In case you don’t know, fetching and storing water can be a laborious task. So why do we have to go through regular water service interruptions when we are paying for water services that aren’t cheap?
Sadly, the water shortage issue is more complicated than you think. If we don’t do something about it we might end up with no clean water at all. Rotational water supply is tough to deal with, imagine what would happen if the water supply runs out. People have accused water service providers like Maynilad and Manila Water as being responsible for the shortage.
What people don’t realize is that they are also partly to blame. Dams and water systems have been drying up due to global warming and climate change. Admit it or not, humans are the main culprit in climate change. Plus, people aren’t really using water responsibly in the past. The question now is, “Is there a solution for water shortage?”
Water concessionaires and the government are already pursuing measures to alleviate the problem. But since it’s also our concern, we should look into our possible contribution to the solution. I am part of a group called Mommy Bloggers Philippines and we recently had a tour at the La Mesa Water Treatment Plant 2, Angat, and Ipo Dams to learn more about the water crisis and find out how we can help address it.
There are currently two private companies servicing the water needs of Metro Manila. Maynilad covers the west zone which is comprised of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Malabon, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Valenzuela, most of Manila, parts of Quezon City and Makati, and some cities and municipalities in Cavite. On the part of Manila Water, they are providing service to Marikina, Pasig, Pateros, San Juan, Taguig, most of Quezon City, some areas of Manila and Rizal. Water from both companies is drawn from Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan where 96% of the entire water demand of Metro Manila is sourced from.
In terms of customer base, Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad) is the largest water concessionaire in the Philippines. They provide water and wastewater services for the West Zone of the Greater Manila Area with a customer base of more than 9.7 million people. As part of their operations, they maintain 4 Water Treatment Plants, 22 Wastewater Plants, 36 Pumping Stations, 32 Reservoirs, 28 in-line boosters, and a total of 7,713 kilometers water pipelines laid. These facilities may be enough to deliver clean water to your homes but it’s another story when the water supply itself becomes inadequate.
One of the measures undertaken by Maynilad to address the shortage is the rotational water service interruptions. This usually happens when water levels in the dams reach below normal levels and concessionaires are given less than their usual raw water allocation. Customers are given advance notice of the service interruption schedule so they can store water beforehand. The duration of the water interruption depends on several factors including the hydraulic configuration of pipelines or the household location, actual raw water supply and volume of withdrawal.
Those living near pumping stations or those in low-lying areas are likely to have shorter service interruptions compared to those in highly elevated areas. Lower raw water allocation also means less water for distribution. Customers can also be a cause of delay in supply resumption. According to Maynilad, drawing too much water after service resumption will prevent supply from reaching highly elevated and fringe areas. Be warned though, drawing too much water after resumption may also cause your water bill to spike.
Alamin kung ano ang pingadadaanan ng tubig mula Angat Dam patungo sa ating mga bahay:
How is the water treated?
According to the National Water Resources Board reduced allocations will remain in effect until June 2020. This means that we can expect daily rotational service interruptions until allocation levels are raised or returned to normal. So what can we do to help address water supply levels? On the part of Maynilad they have already implemented mitigating measures since last year. These include:
- Optimizing its Putatan Water Treatment Plant 1 (PWTP 1) – Maynilad’s first facility to draw water from Laguna Lake since 2010, PWTP 1 produces 150 million liters per day (MLD) of potable water.
- Commissioning of PWTP 2 – Maynilad invested in a second treatment plant that draws more water from Laguna Lake. Inaugurated last Feb. 2019, the initial output of PWTP 2 was at 100 MLD as of April 2019, and this was increased by another 50 MLD as of Oct. 2019.
- Reactivating deep wells – Maynilad has been reactivating existing deep wells within its concession area, using additional treatment technology to make the yield potable. This will add around 52 MLD by April 2020.
- Sustaining reduction of water losses – Maynilad inherited one of the oldest pipe networks in Asia, with some segments dating back to the Spanish times. After pouring millions worth of investments, the company has already replaced over 2,500 kilometers of old pipes and repaired more than 360,000 pipe leaks since 2008. These efforts result in supply recovery for distribution to customers. Recent intensified water loss reduction initiatives will enable Maynilad to plow back around 83 MLD additional supply to the network by summer 2020, and another 11 MLD by Q3 of 2020.
- Purchasing mobile treatment plants that will tap rivers in Cavite – Maynilad is exploring the deployment of modular water treatment plants that will extract raw water from Cavite rivers within the West Zone. This will yield around 13 MLD by April 2020, and another 14 MLD by July to August 2020.
- Deploying mobile and stationary water tankers (SWT) – Maynilad acquired a total of 69 mobile water tankers and 32 SWTs, which are being deployed to different areas within its West Zone concession.
- Conducting cloud-seeding operations – Maynilad is currently working with MWSS, Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), and Philippine Air Force (PAF) on the guidelines and schedule of the cloud-seeding operations.
As for us consumers, we can start using water more responsibly and teach our kids to do the same.
Here are some tips on how we can be a part of the solution for water shortage.
Economize. Using showers and water hoses can be wasteful with water. You’ll have more control over your water consumption by using a pail and dipper. Do this when bathing, cleaning, or watering the plants. You can also save water by soaking dirty dishes on a basin with water during pre-washing instead of running it through the faucet. Another economical tip is to water plants on its roots instead of the leaves.
Never let the water run. This usually happens when brushing teeth or handwashing, especially with kids. Remember to turn the faucet OFF when you soap your hands or as you brush your teeth. Also, watch out for leaking faucets and make sure that they are properly turned OFF.
Re-use or Recycle. Yes, these eco-friendly practices can also be applied to water use. For instance, water used for washing vegetables can still be used for watering the plants. Bath water can be used for cleaning the bathroom or flushing the toilet. Laundry water can also be used to cleaning outdoor areas or even your car.
Report leaks and illegal connections. Leaks and illegal connections don’t just wastewater, it can also compromise the quality of water going through the pipes. Thus, it is in everyone’s best interest if these are immediately reported to authorities. Be mindful of internal leaks in your house also, as this will not only waste water but also cause your water bill to spike. Have your trusted plumber check.
Alamin ang tipid-tubig tips ni Tatay Rico para sa wais na paggamit ng tubig ngayong panahon ng El Niño.
Like it or not we are part of the water shortage problem. If we do not change how we treat the environment and be more responsible in our water use then we might just end up losing this valuable resource. No effort is too big or too little when it comes to water conservation. Let’s all do our part in being a solution to the water shortage.
For more information on Maynilad’s operations, you may please visit the following: