MAYNILAD Water Services, Inc. said the algae proliferation in Laguna Lake affected operations at its Putatan water treatment facilities. — PHILSTAR/JEREMY PINTOLO

MAYNILAD Water Services, Inc. said on Thursday that it was able to increase the production of its two Putatan water treatment facilities to 125 million liters per day (MLD) from 80 MLD, despite the continued algae proliferation in Laguna Lake.

The improvement was recorded as of 2 a.m. on May 2, at a time of the algal bloom because of the warmer temperatures brought about by the mild El Niño.

“While this is still below our normal production — as the facilities’ full combined capacity is at 250 MLD — it is an improvement that will help us to better stabilize supply in the network, and marginally increase the supply availability window for some of the affected areas,” the company said in a statement.

“We are intensifying our treatment interventions to address the issues brought about by the algal bloom and bring our production back to normal levels,” it said.

In the meantime, Maynilad identified the affected customers as those in portions of Parañaque, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, and Cavite. They will continue to experience low pressure to no water supply daily until May 14.

The company said 40 mobile water tankers are doing the rounds of severely affected areas to provide potable water to customers.

Separately, Ramoncito S. Fernandez, Maynilad president and chief executive officer, said the “intense algae generation” had affected the water concessionaire’s operations.

“We had to slow down our operations last week down to about 85 MLD from our normal 250 for the two plants because of the presence of algae,” he told reporters.

He said algae is generated because of too much nutrients, mostly phosphorous and nitrogen, coming from fertilizers, pesticides from various and other sources.

“With intense heat, photosynthesis is happening. This green matter is generated. The level of intensity of algae is unprecedented, this is the first time we’re seeing such intense algae generation,” he said.

He said the proliferation was more than four times what Maynilad had been experiencing, prompting the adjustments on its operations.

“Both physical and chemical interventions had been done, we have now increased our output to 126 MLD this morning. We hope to ramp it up to 150, 170 MLD in the next week or so,” he said.

Mr. Fernandez also said that Maynilad had been informed by the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) that the level of Angat Dam had gone down to 177.9.

“The forecast is that it will go down to 171, the lowest will by 157 if no rains will come but we were promised by NWRB that our 48 cms (cubic meters per second) will not be affected,” he said.

“The next crisis is that if there are no rains continuously up to July, the level of Angat might reach 160 which is the low offtake already where turbidity might be higher, which will mean slowing down our plants,” he added — Victor V. Saulon