Friday, March 13, 2020

Why Do We Have Rotational Water Service Interruption?

At the Angat Dam View Deck
Damn, behind me is the overview of Angat Dam! If you will look at it, mukang okei naman, muka naman sapat ang tubig, pero bakettt langi na lang tayong sumisigaw ng walang tubiggg!!! 

Angat Dam
A few days ago, I got the chance and had the tour of Angat Dam and Ipo Dam where we primarily source out our potable water which Maynilad distributes to its customers. I witnessed as well how the water is being treated in their La Mesa Water Treatment Plant.

Let's face it, totoong nakakainis at sobrang uncomfortable naman talaga ng walang tubig. Fact is, if I were to choose- I’d rather not have kuryente than walang tubig. But with this very eye-opening tour, nalinawan ako sa reason why rotational ang pagkakaron natin ng tubig.

Before I share with you all the learnings I grasp during this activity, let me first say — Hello Summer! Ramdam nyo na din ba? I can feel it slight —unti-unti ng umiinit ang weather natin my friendsAnd because of this, for sure, all the more that most of us become bothered and wonder if our water supply will be able to sustain our water demands especially this coming summer season. In fact, I just came across a rant on my feed from one netizen >> "nagbabayad naman kami ng Maynilad Water bill pero bakit palagi na lang nawawalan ng supply ng tubig".

Angat Watershed Forest Reserve
To be able to help answer all your concerns in regards to the status of our water supply which includes why it is scheduled on a rotational basis, let me give you a brief background kung saan nga ba nanggagaling ang ating tubig.

Raw Water Sources 
Did you know that about 91% of Maynilad's raw water supply comes from Angat Dam? Angat Dam is located in Norzagaray in Bulacan while the remaining 9% comes from Laguna Lake. 

Fast Fact: Maynilad is the first water concessionaire to tap Laguna Lake as an alternative source of raw water supply for Metro Manila. 

Angat Dam
How does the water flow?
From Angat Dam, raw water flows downward to the much-smaller Ipo Dam and, eventually, to the Novaliches Portal where the water is divided between the two private water concessionaires of the MWSS—namely Manila Water for the East Zone concession, and Maynilad for the West Zone concession. This means the two concessionaires share the raw water supply coming from Angat and Ipo Dams.

Another Fast Fact: Maynilad gets a 60% share because of a bigger customer base. But regardless of a bigger share,  only Manila Water gets raw water from La Mesa Dam which is located in Novaliches.

Ipo Dam

Read this:
The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) is the government agency responsible for determming the allocation of raw water supply from Angat Dam for MWSS and NIA. The normal allocation for MWSS is 48 cubic meters per second (cms). This supply is shared among residents of Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Cavité, Rizal and Bulacan. 

Last 2019, since we had El Nińo, our water supply situation became critical. With this, the NWRB reduced raw water allocation for the MWSS m an effort to preserve the remaining water in Angat Dam, which plunged to below-critical levels due to scant rainfall. 

The reduced allocation forced the water concessionaires to implement daily rotational water service interruptions throughout their respective service areas to maximize the limited supply and ensure that all customers will have some water supply, even within a few hours daily. 

Maynilad was able to temporarily suspend the rotational interruptions from July to September 2019 when the rains arrived. This is because rains filled up the Ipo Dam and kept its water elevation within the maintaining level of 101 meters, thus augmenting the supply shortfall from Angat Dam. However, once runoffs from the Ipo watershed dwindled, water level at Ipo Dam plunged. This forced Maynilad to again re-implement the rotational interruptions by October 2019.

At present, the water level in Angat Dam is above its minimum operating level. However, the NWRB still retained reduced allocation for MWSS (currently at 42 cms wherein the normal allocation is at 48 cms). This is because the water level is still lower than ideal, and NWRB wants to ensure that there will still be enough water by the time the summer months arrive. 

And ito na nga, I can feel the summer heat slowly taking over. This means, consumer demand for water increases because people would probably be taking a bath more than twice a day, would be drinking more water, and the plants would need to be watered more due to scant rainfall, and the list goes on and on...

So when there's an increase in water demand due to the hot weather coupled with scant rainfall over our water reservoirs, expect that the Angat and Ipo Dam poses a problem for consumers like us. Thus, the possibility that the NWRB will further reduce raw water allocation for the MWSS this summer 2020 is present. Such a reduction would mean longer daily rotational water service interruptions for customers of the concessionaires.

This was at Maynilad La Mesa Water Treatment Plant View Deck
With such anticipation, is Maynilad doing some preparations for Summer 2020?
Yes! This is actually one of the questions that we raised during the discussion that we had. 

Maynilad has been implementing mitigating measures since last year to alleviate the impact of the reduced allocation during summer 2020. These measures would essentially add water supply for distribution to its 9.7 million customers despite the shortage from Angat and Ipo Dams. 

These are:
l. Optimize its Putatan Water Treatment Plant 1- Tapping Laguna Lake as raw water source, this facility produces 150 million liters per day of potable water.

2. Commissioning of Putatan Water Treatment Plant 2- Maynilad invested in a second treatment plant that draws more water from Laguna Lake. Inaugurated last Feb. 2019, the initial output of Putatan Water Treatment Plant 2 was at 100 million liters per day as of April 2019, and this was increased by another 50 million liters per day as of Oct. 2019. 
3. Reactivating deep wells - Maynilad has been reactivating existing deep wells within its concession area, using additional treatment technology to make the yield potable. This will add around 52 million liters per day by April 2020. 
4. Sustaining reduction of water losses - Maynilad inherited one of the oldest pipe networks in Asia, with some segments dating back to the Spanish times. After pouring millions worth of investments, it has already replaced over 2,500 kilometers of old pipes and repaired more than 360,000 pipe leaks since 2008. These efforts result in supply recovery for distribution to customers. Recent intensified water loss reduction initiatives will enable Maynilad to plow back around 83 million liters per day additional supply to the network by summer 2020, and another 11 million liters per day by Q3 of 2020. 
5. Purchasing mobile treatment plants that will tap rivers within the West concession area in Cavité - Maynilad is exploring the deployment of modular water treatment plants and extract raw water from Cavité rivers within its concession. This will yield around 13 million liters per day by April 2020, and another 14 million liters per day by July August 2020. 
6. Deploying mobile and stationary water tankers (SWT) - Maynilad acquired a total of 69 mobile water tankers and 32 SWTs, which are being deployed to different areas within its West Zone concession. 
7. Conducting cloud-seeding operations - Maynilad is currently working with MWSS, Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), and Philippine Air Force (PAF) on the guidelines and schedule of the cloud-seeding operations. 

While Maynilad's mitigating measures will help to ease the impact of the water shortage this summer of 2020, the ultimate solution is to develop an additional raw water source—one of the same scale as Angat Dam. According to our discussion, it was mentioned that the government, through the MWSS, has lined up several prospective sources and is working to fast-track their development to ensure long-term water security and reliability for water consumers in Metro Manila and nearby provinces. 

But until they have not developed the above said additional water source, we will have to extend more our patience with the daily rotational water service interruptions. We can only do this if we understand better why there is a need for rotational service interruption. 

Understanding daily rotational water service interruptions:

So bakit nga ba nagkakaron ng schedule ng kawalan ng supply ng tubig sa ating lugar? 

When Maynilad is given less than its usual raw water allocation, it is constrained to maximize the limited supply by rotating it to the different areas within its concession. This is to ensure that all customers will have an opportunity to store water, albeit within only a few hours daily. 

How does the daily rotational water service interruption work?

• The duration of service interruptions per area is dependent on the hydraulic configuration of the pipelines. This means that some areas will experience longer or shorter service interruptions owing to their location (i.e., areas that are low in elevation, are near Mayailad's reservoirs and pumping stations, and are conduits to reach fringe areas will naturally have shorter service interruptions.)

• Certain factors cause the delay of supply resumption following a service interruption. These include the volume of withdrawal from the pipelines as customers start getting water, the topography of an area (low-lying areas feel the supply resumption earlier than those in highly elevated areas), and the actual raw water supply that enters Maynilad's treatment plants for the day (lower volume received means less water for distribution).

• Simultaneous withdrawal of water from the pipelines affects water pressure. With this, Maynilad strongly advises its customers to just store enough water that they will need for the duration of a service interruption. TAKE NOTE OF THIS: Drawing too much water after service resumption will not only prevent the supply from reaching highly elevated and fringe areas, it may also cause the hoarder's water bill to spike. 

• Some customers may also experience slight water discoloration upon resumption of service.  The discoloration is a natural consequence of service interruptions, as the returning flow of water tends to scrape the mineral deposits from the internal lining of pipes. Customers are advised to let the water flow out until the supply clears. If discoloration persists, they are encouraged to report it to Maynilad for further investigation.

So how long will this daily rotational water interruption last?
The implementation of daily rotational service interruptions will be in effect for as long as the raw water allocation given to Maynilad from Angat Dam is below its requirement. As per NWRB, reduced allocations will remain in effect until June 2020. Nevertheless, continuous monitoring of Angat and Ipo Dams are being done to check if the water levels improve enough to raise the allocation. 

As consumers, we also have the responsibility to ensure that we use our water wisely. Maynilad as our water service provider is doing its best to provide us with clean water for our daily consumption and is doing their best to provide us with a supply. 

I know how hard it is during times when water interruption is being experienced. Sabi ko nga,  it's true na talaga naman nakaka-init ng ulo especially that water is our basic necessity. Everyone, everywhere has the right to safe and clean water. But let’s also remember that though nature provides us with abundant resources, it is also our responsibility to use it wisely. So here are some basic tips towards responsible water usage:

Angat Dam View Deck
Our role as customers:

Avoid Wasting Water (Iwasan ang maaksayang paggamit ng tubig) 
• Make sure to turn off the faucet properly. 
-(Isara ng mahigpit ang gripo upang walang masayang na tubig).
•Turn off the faucet while washing your hands 
-(Kapag naghuhugas ng kamay, isara ang gripo habang nagkukuskos o nagsasabon)
• Use glass when brushing your teeth 
-(Gumamit ng baso kapag nagsisipilyo)
• Do not use a hose in cleaning your car or garage, use pail instead
-(huwag gumamit ng hose sa paglilinis ng garahe. gumamit na lang ng timba)
• Do not water the plants during noon time, instead do it early in the morning or at night.
-(Magdilig ng halaman sa umaga at gabi. Huwag sa kainitan ng araw upang hindi agad matuyo ang tubig)
• Water the plants near the roots.
-(Diligin ang halaman malapit sa ugat at hindi sa dahon)
• Avoid doing the laundry everyday. 
-(Iwasang maglaba araw-araw. Ipunin at labahan ng sabay-sabay)
• Report broken pipes and illegal connections to Maynilad Hotline 1626 
-(Itawag sa Maynilad Hotline 1626 ang mga tumatagas na tubo at ilegal na koneksyon)

Make Sure Legitimate Customers are being Serviced (Siguraduhing lehitimong kostumers ang nakikinabang sa tubig) 

Recycle Water (Mag-recycle ng tubig nang hindi makakasama sa kalikasan) 
• Use your bath water to flush your toilet, wash dirty clothes (basahan)
• Clean your bathroom as you wash your clothes. Use the waster you used for laundry in cleaning the bathroom.

Make sure to use water wisely especially when it comes to the health and sanitation of your family. (Gamitin ng wasto ang tubig. Huwag hayaang makaapekto sa kalusugan at sanitasyon ng inyong pamilya ang sobrang pagtitipid ng tubig.

Maynilad has got our back guys, but remember it takes two to tango. We also have to do our share. Dadagdagan pa natin ng kaunting tiis pa, kaunting pasencya at unawa plus our guaranteed cooperation in further conserving water not just within our household but wherever we go. When we do this, for sure we will all surpass our water problem in due time!

Should you need further information, you may visit  Maynilad’s  Facebook page.

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