DRY-SEASON water demand in Metro Manila and nearby provinces is expected to exceed normal levels by up to 15%, according to Manila Water Co., one of the capital region’s two water suppliers.

In the east zone, Nestor Jeric T. Sevilla, Jr., Manila Water’s corporate strategic affairs group head, said: “Normally, during summer, demand increases by about 10 to 15%.”

In a Viber message to BusinessWorld, Mr. Sevilla said the current supply is 1,600 million liters per day (MLD) from the primary water source, Angat Dam, with demand roughly equivalent.

“We get about 1,600 million liters of water per day from Angat as our 40% allocation,” he said, adding that the company draws additional water from its Cardona water treatment plant (100-110 MLD); deep wells (50 MLD to 100 MLD) and backwash recovery operations (30 MLD).

He said peak demand in the dry season is projected at up to 1,700 MLD.

Maynilad Water Services, Inc. had a more conservative estimate of 5-6% demand in excess of normal levels.

“The demand increases by 5 to 6% during summer, and we are seeing this effect now,” Jennifer C. Rufo, a company spokesperson, told BusinessWorld via Viber message on Tuesday.

For the west zone, Ms. Rufo said the supply of water is currently 2,700 MLD.

“The water that should be available to us is 2,400 MLD from our La Mesa treatment plant (which draws from the Angat-Ipo system), and 300 MLD from our Putatan treatment plant (Laguna de Bay),” Ms. Rufo said.

Maynilad did not disclose its current water demand. The west zone concessionaire serves about 1.5 million connections within its service area.

Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Leonor C. Cleofas told reporters on Tuesday that water supply remains at “comfortable” levels.

“Even the NWRB (National Water Resources Board) said that we are still at a comfortable level,” Ms. Cleofas said.

Ms. Cleofas said the MWSS is confident supply will be adequate for meeting the expected surge in demand.

She said that it is too early to whether Metro Manila and nearby provinces will experience a water crisis.

“What we are saying right now is that we are not relying on Angat dam alone; we have short to medium term sources. We have additional water supply (which) will help us through the summer months,” she said.

The MWSS said in January that it is projecting a possible shortfall in 2024 if population growth continues and the Philippines does not develop new water sources.

Ms. Cleofas said that the MWSS is still positive about finishing the Kaliwa Dam by the end of 2026.

“So far, including the detailed engineering design, more or less Kaliwa Dam is 24% complete,” she said.

Once completed, the Kaliwa Dam is expected to commence operations by the first quarter of 2027 with projected additional supply of 600 MLD.

Ms. Cleofas said the water regulator hopes to start constructing the dam within the year.

The MWSS estimates that as of March 28, water levels at Angat Dam are at 203.25 meters, above the 192 meters considered to be the dam’s normal operating level. The ideal level is pegged at 212 meters, which incorporates a safety margin for the dry season.

Angat Dam accounts for about 90% of the capital’s potable water.

Manila Water’s service area includes Marikina, Pasig, Makati, Taguig, Pateros, Mandaluyong, San Juan, portions of Quezon City and Manila, and several towns in Rizal province.

Maynilad serves the cities of Manila, except portions of San Andres and Sta. Ana. It also operates in Quezon City, Makati, Caloocan, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Valenzuela, Navotas, and Malabon.

It also supplies the cities of Cavite, Bacoor and Imus, and the towns of Kawit, Noveleta, and Rosario, all in Cavite province.

Metro Pacific Investments Corp., which has a majority stake in Maynilad, is one of three Philippine units of Hong Kong-based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has an interest in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Ashley Erika O. Jose