IN the fight against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, water is most important.
Without tap water coming in to our households, hospitals, and places of work, Filipinos won’t be able to do the principal admonition of the Department of Health (DOH) to wash one’s hands thorough with soap and water. More people also recognize the need to take a bath after spending some time outside of their residences, even if just to buy food and other supplies from the supermarkets and drug stores.
This is the reason both Senators Grace Poe and Imee Marcos have called out Maynilad and Manila Water on their policy of water service interruptions or rationing at this time of the national public health emergency.
The two water concessionaires just chose to be silent and did not dispute the lady senators on this issue. If at all, they can just pass on the problem to the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and the Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System (MWSS) which are the frontline water regulators of the government.
With the hot and humid weather with little chances of rain, the NWRB decided to implement yesterday lower water allocation from Angat Dam for the irrigation requirements of provinces in Central Luzon in order to give more water to the National Capital Region. This move was taken to give Angat Dam the leeway to attain its normal water levels.
There is an element of luck here because most farmlands in Bulacan, Pampanga and Nueva Ecija have already finished harvesting their rice and other crops, so that the reduced allocation of 15 cubic meters per second from the previous 20 cms would have little or no negative effect. Meanwhile, the allocation for domestic water will remain at a maximum of 46 cms, equivalent to around 4,000 million liters per day.
Angat Dam’s water level was in the vicinity of 200 meters at the start of the year, and lack of rainfall prohibited it to attain its normal high water level of at least 212 meters. The water shortage would soon be felt in Metro Manila, as the hot summer days are now with us.
The whole of Luzon is battling one of the most virulent public health crises in history, and in this war, the availability of clean water in our homes and hospitals is a must.
The ongoing pandemic has thus elevated water to the level of food as the most basic of necessities among Filipinos, rich and poor alike.
The call to conserve water and put it only to good use has never been more relevant than now.