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Senate gearing up to conduct investigation into water crisis

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water containers crisis
Residents queue with their pails and containers as fire volunteers supply water at Brgy. Barangka Drive in Mandaluyong City on March 11. -- PHILIPPINE STAR/MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

SENATE President Vicente C. Sotto III has filed a resolution calling for an investigation into Metro Manila’s water crisis.

Mr. Sotto filed Senate Resolution 1028 on Wednesday ordering the Senate Committee on Public Services and other committees to look into the matter and come up with recommendations.

“If left unresolved, the water crisis may bring more serious problems to the people and businesses in the affected areas, and may impact the country as a whole,” according to the resolution.

The crisis in Metro Manila’s water supply stems from La Mesa Dam, which Manila Water Inc. Co. reports is below the critical level of 69 meters at 68.74 meters. The La Mesa Dam is Manila Water’s emergency water source.

Many areas in the metro have experienced weak to no water supply, with some areas having people line up for hours to get water from tankers.

The Committee on Public Services, Chaired by Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares, has scheduled hearings for March 19.




In a statement on Thursday, Ms, Poe said that the probe will, in part, seek to resolve the matter of the low water levels in La Mesa Reservoir in Quezon City, despite normal water levels at Angat Dam in Bulacan, which is the ultimate source of most of Metro Manila’s water.

May tubig pa ang Angat Dam kaya nga ang western part na sineserbisyuhan ng Maynilad ay may tubig pa. Ang problema ‘yung conveyance kung saan dadaloy ang tubig (There is still water in Angat Dam which is why the Western part that is being served by Maynilad Water Services Inc. still has water. The problem is in how the water gets to Metro Manila,”) she said.

The committee invited Manila Water Chief Operating Officer Geodino V. Carpio and Communications Head Nestor Jeric T. Sevilla Jr. and Maynilad Water Services Chief Operating Officer Randolph T. Estrellado.

Also invited were Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol; Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu; the weather bureau administrator Vicente Malano; Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) administrator Jeci A. Lapus; National Water Resources Board (NWRB) Executive Director Sevillo D. David Jr.; Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) Administrator Reynaldo V. Velasco and its Chief of Regulation Patrick N. Ty. — Gillian M. Cortez