The water crisis is far from over: Metro Manila will have a water deficit of 150 million liters a day next summer.
That’s equivalent to the needs of all residents of Makati, said Dr. Cristopher Monterola, executive managing director of the Analytics, Computing and Complex Systems laboratory at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).
“We are working on sensors in all water dams to improve rationing,” Monterola, who heads the Aboitiz School of Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship at AIM, told a policy forum of the National Academy of Science and Technology.
Metro Manila loses as much as 11 percent of its water, reflected in the 150 million liters a day deficit that is equivalent to the consumption of about 700,000 individuals, he said.
There are solutions, said Monterola who also holds the Aboitiz Chair in Data Science and is the head of AIM’s School for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship.
One is supply augmentation; another is the reduction of non-revenue water loss.
Supply augmentation includes the rehabilitation of existing dep wells, the equivalent of 58 million liters a day as of July 2019. Construction of new deep wells are ongoing.
Deep wells however cannot supply Metro Manila’s water needs forever. It’s “not sustainable,” Monterola said.
Then there is the Cardona Water Treatment Plant that supplies 80 million liters a day and can be maximized to 100 million liters a day.
The metropolis may also look at future water resources, Monterola said.
These include the Calawis, Antipolo Source System which should be good for 80 million liters a day by 2021. The new Wawa Dam could provide 438 million liters a day by 2025.
The East Bay Laguna Lake project could supply up to 300 million liters a day while the Sierra Madre project 750 million liters a day. Both are in the technical working group stage, meaning they are far from being put on the ground.
Another way to ease the water crisis now and in the future is to reduce non-revenue water loss, from 12 percent in 2018 to about 10 percent now, Monterola said.
The forecasting model for the water supply system must also be improved, he added.