On her last week as Speaker of the House of Representatives, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will conduct an oversight hearing to look into the impending water shortage as Angat Dam in Bulacan reaches critical level.
Speaker Arroyo made the call after the impending water shortage was brought to her attention by Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) Acting Administrator Jeci Lapus as he sought for solutions for Angat water problem as well as long-term measures to prevent a water crisis from happening.
According to reports over the weekend, Angat Dam, which supplies water to Metro Manila and Central Luzon, may hit critical level in 1 or 2 days. As a result, allocation for Metro Manila's water supply may be reduced if the dam hits the 160-meter critical level.
Angat Dam has dipped to 160.73-meter mark as of 6 a.m. last Friday according to PAGASA.
Invited to the hearing on Tuesday at the House of Representatives at 10 am are officials from the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage Systems (MWSS), National Water Resources Bureau (NWRB), LWUA, National Irrigation Authority (NIA), Departments of Agriculture, Budget and Management, Environment and Natural Resources and Public Works and Highways, NEDA and water concessionaires Manila Water Company, Inc. (MWCI), and the Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (MWSI), among others.
Aside from the water shortage, included in the agenda is the proposed creation of a Department of Water which will be evaluated by the committee for the next Congress to act upon.
Last March, at the height of the water crisis in the east side of Metro Manila, Speaker Arroyo also conducted an oversight hearing to help find solutions to the problem. As a result, Maynilad agreed to open five of its surplus valves with Manila Water to supply 50 million of water to ease the burden of the estimated 1.2 million households in the area.
Two House resolutions, both principally authored by Speaker Arroyo, were also adopted that tackled the water crisis in Metro Manila.
House Resolution No. 2547 strongly urged the MWSS, together with other concerned agencies and companies, to be proactive whenever an impending crisis is detected and immediately form a technical working group (TWG) to enhance and execute mitigation strategies to avert the occurrence of water shortage in Metro Manila and provide sustainable supply of clean and safe water for its citizens now and in the future.
House Resolution No. 2548 strongly urged the MWSS, MWSS-Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO) NWRB, LWUA, BSWM, MWCI, and the MWSI to immediately formulate a water security masterplan to secure and sustain the supply of water for household, commercial, and industrial uses in Metro Manila that may be duplicated in other parts of the country.
The resolution stated that the recent water shortage in Metro Manila serves as an eye opener that warned government regulators to be proactive particularly in the dry season to address water service problems immediately.