THE SENATE majority leader on Monday filed a resolution seeking to probe, in aid of legislation, the governments short- and long-term plans to address the water supply problem in Metro Manila and other parts of the country, especially with the onset of the dry season that is expected to be until end-May.    

Despite the abundance of water resources in the country, lack of sustainable water supply has been a constant problem, especially during the dry season,Senate Majority Leader Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva said under Senate Resolution 561.  

The archipelagic country is surrounded by 1,380 square kilometers of water area, with 421 principal river basins that serve as sources of daily sustenance and livelihood to communities. 

Regulator Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System early this year warned of a possible water supply crisis in 2023 without new water sources or additional water supply to meet increasing demand. 

With the countrys expanding population, water scarcity becomes a more serious concern, Mr. Villanueva said. 

According to the Department of Health, Philippine population is expected to increase to 114 million by 2024.  

Angat Dam, which has a storage capacity of about 850 million cubic meters, supplies 98% of Metro Manilas water needs, as well as irrigation needs of 25,000 hectares of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga.  

Although far from the critical water level of 180 meters, the decreasing trend of this years water level is a cause of concern and an object of strict monitoring to avoid the situation in 2022 where water level was below critical level of 176 meters in the months of July and September,Mr. Villanueva said.  

The government has an alternative water source to Angat Dam, set for construction from 2020 to 2025. However, the Kaliwa Dam Project has yet to materialize due to failure to obtain several permits and certifications despite its kickoff being moved to June 2022.  

Although the construction is now scheduled on June 2023, strong opposition from affected indigenous peoples, environmental watchdogs and other stakeholders can cause further delays, especially since the construction of the dam will likely cause massive environmental degradation in the Kaliwa watershed forest reserve,the majority leader said.  

Given the foregoing and acknowledging that access to clean water supply is an integral need of every Filipino household, there is a need to ensure that the current state of the countrys water supply is adequate for the residents of Metro Manila and other affected areas,he added. Alyssa Nicole O. Tan