ANGAT DAM’S water level could breach its lowest level recorded at 157.57 meters this week.

“If the situation in Angat watershed and dams, as far as rainfall is concerned, does not improve then it is possible,” National Water Resources Board (NWRB) Executive Director Sevillo D. David, Jr., told BusinessWorld in a text message when asked about the possibility of such a situation to occur.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has already declared the start of the rainy season, but the dam’s water level continues to go down.

The weather bureau noted in its website that as of 6 a.m. on Sunday, the water level in Angat was at 159.43 meters, 50.57 meters below its normal high water level of 210 meters.

Water elevation at Angat Dam last dropped below the critical level of 160 meters on July 13, 2010 when it registered a low of 157.57 meters, as the El Niño phenomenon affected the country.

As for the water allocation to the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), Mr. David said 36 cubic meter per second (CMS) will be maintained for the rest of June.

Discussions will be held next week if this will be further reduced in July depending on the dam’s water level and climate projections.

The NWRB reduced water allocation during this month from 46 CMS to 40 CMS and further to 36 CMS.

“We appeal to everyone to help us also through responsible use of water and conserve water. Let’s also try to collect rain water and recycle it to help in the limited supply that we have now from the dam,” he said.

With this development, water concession holders in Metro Manila and surrounding areas said they will have to wait for further actions from the NWRB before they can determine how much longer the ongoing water interruptions would be.

Maynilad Water Services, Inc. Spokesperson Jennifer C. Rufo said in a text message, “We are spreading out that limited supply so that all customers will receive some water even within a few hours daily. The interruption schedules we implement will greatly depend on the allocation that NWRB will give to the MWSS.”

“Interruption hours could extend if less supply is given. Most affected in the West Zone are the highly elevated portions, and those that are farthest from the source, like Cavite,” she added.

For Manila Water Co., Inc., Group Head for Corporate Strategic Affairs Nestor Jeric T. Sevilla Jr. said in a separate text message, “We are already implementing longer hours of water interruption as Angat has already breached its critical level. Further longer hours of interruption will be dependent on NWRB if it will further reduce the current 36 CMS allocation to the concessionaires. The entire East Zone is affected with highly elevated areas and those located far from our pumping and booster stations heavily affected.” — Vincent Mariel P. Galang