By Arra B. Francia and
Vincent Mariel P. Galang, Reporters
BUSINESSES, both big and small, are scrambling to cope with the water shortage to ensure minimal disruption to operations.
Mandaluyong City, one of the cities covered by Manila Water’s east zone concession, has perhaps been the most affected by the water interruption — with only two hours of water service for nearly a week now.
Merrylle Esquillon, an attendant in a water refilling station along Domingo M. Guevara St. in Mandaluyong City, said they have to stock up on water during the two hours that service is available — 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
She told BusinessWorld there has been an increase in customers who are buying more water not just for drinking, but for bathing. She added that demand has been so strong that most of the time they run out of water to deliver.
Noong hindi pa nagsho-shortage ’yung tubig, almost 100 gallons po yung nade-deliver namin per day… then nung nag-shortage parang na-triple po ’yung dami niya… Ngayon po lumakas po siya pero affected pa rin po kasi po ’yung ba hindi naming nade-deliveran [When there was no shortage we usually deliver 100 gallons per day, then during the shortage it even tripled… Now, there is strong demand but we are still affected because there are times when we can’t deliver to some customers,” she said.
At a laundry shop along Kanlaon St. in Mandaluyong, the water shortage is hampering business.
Aside from stocking up water from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Rose Fortu, who works at the laundry shop, said they also have to line up to get water from the firetrucks that are going around the barangays.
Ang two hours, nag-iimbak kami habang nagwa-wash kaya pero tulad ngayon ’yung na-imbak namin na consume na [In those two hours, we store water while washing, but now those we have stored we already consumed them],” she said in an interview.
Ms. Fortu said they tell customers that the delivery time for the laundry is now more than four days, from the usual two days.
A Starbucks branch along Shaw Boulevard could only serve two types of iced tea drinks on Monday morning, with the barista saying that no espresso-based drinks were available.
Big businesses are now adopting measures to conserve water, especially as summer approaches.
“In line with the water service interruptions in Metro Manila, we at Ayala Malls exert our best efforts to minimize the impact this may have on our customers by monitoring our reservoirs round-the-clock to ensure that there is enough supply while we are in operation. We have also implemented appropriate water conservation measures, as we closely coordinate with our two water service providers and other partners who help us maintain our needed water supply,” Charmaine Bauzon, operations head for Luzon of the Ayala Malls Group, said in a text message sent to BusinessWorld on Tuesday.
While not affected, Unilever Philippines said that it is still keeping an eye on the issue.
“The manufacturing sites of Unilever Philippines are running under normal operating conditions and are currently not affected by the reported water shortage. We are closely monitoring this issue and await advisories from the water concessionaires,” Ed Sunico, vice- president for sustainable business and communications of Unilever, said in a separate text message to BusinessWorld on Tuesday.
“As part of Unilever’s sustainability agenda, continuous improvement initiatives are implemented across our factories for efficient water use,” he added.
For its part, Manila Water appealed for patience from its customers, while asking them to also use water “more responsibly and wisely.”