No cause for worry over low water level at Angat dam–execs

No cause for worry over low water level at Angat dam–execs
By TJ Burgonio
Last updated 08:46pm (Mla time) 07/19/2007

MANILA, Philippines — The water level at Angat Dam has gone down to a critical level, but there is still enough to supply households in Metro Manila, officials said Thursday.


After weeks of low rainfall in the watershed, the water level further dipped to 175.28 meters, way below the minimum operating level of 80 meters, as of 6 a.m. Thursday.


Despite the drop, the turbines at the National Power Corporation-operated hydroelectric plant in Bulacan province continued to generate electricity and send water to households in the metropolis.


“There’s little reduction in the water supply, but this has little effect. For now, there’s no reason to worry about the water supply,” engineer Jesusa Roque of National Water Resources Board (NWRB) said in an interview.


The dam supplies 97 percent of the needs of an estimated four million residents of Metro Manila, and most of the irrigation requirements of farms in Central Luzon.


The water level usually goes down around this time of the year. The NWRB expects it to return to normal level once heavy rains hit the watershed between August and September.


While waiting for the rainfall, officials from the Napocor, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, National Irrigation Administration and the Bureau of Soil and Water Management have agreed to conduct cloud seeding in the area.


“But we have not set the schedule yet. It all depends on the presence of ‘seedable’ clouds,” Roque said.


The NWRB has decided to lower the maintaining water level at Ipo Dam by 30 centimeters from 100.3 meters to optimize as well as regulate the use of the water supply, Roque added.


From Angat Dam, the water flows to Ipo Dam and then to the treatment plant before it spills into the MWSS distribution system.


“The best option for the public is to conserve water, and for the farmers to resort to diversified cropping,” Roque said.


In case of low water level in Angat Dam, the irrigation requirements for 19,500 hectares of Bulacan farmlands and the water supply for residents in the metropolis can get affected, she said.


“So far, NIA has not reported what percentage of the farmlands would be affected by the low water level in the watershed,” she added. The drop in the water level has been blamed on the low volume of rainfall in the area.


Typhoon “Bebeng” (international codename: Man-yi) entered the Philippine area of responsibility more than a week ago, but veered away from the islands later.


“Bebeng did not contribute enough rains to add to the water supply,” Roque said.


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