Angat Dam’s water level yesterday fell below its 180-meter minimum operating level amid the lack of rainfall over the watershed area.
The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration recorded Angat Dam’s water elevation at 179.97 meters around 6 a.m., down by 0.35 meters from last Saturday’s 180.32 meters.
According to the National Water Resources Board, they will be prioritizing Metro Manila’s domestic water needs over irrigation and power generation.
Under the water regulator’s protocol in the release of water from Angat Dam, water releases for irrigation needs in Bulacan and Pampanga will be temporarily halted or reduced once the dam’s level falls below its 180-meter minimum operating level.
Earlier, NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. said lower water allocation will be implemented for irrigation in Central Luzon starting May 1 to preserve supply for Metro Manila’s domestic water requirements during the dry season.
The NWRB has approved a reduction of allocation for irrigation from an average of 35 cubic meters per second in April to 10 cms in May.
It will maintain the 48 cms allocation for the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System for distribution to its concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water.
David pointed out that the lower water allocation for the National Irrigation Administration “will not have significant impact on irrigation as they (farmlands) are near the harvesting period.”
However, the NWRB official reiterated their call to the public to continue to conserve water amid the continuous decline in Angat Dam’s water level due to the dry season and El Niño event.
Angat Dam is the main source of 96 percent of Metro Manila’s domestic water requirements and irrigation of about 27,000 hectares of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga.
Its normal high water level during the rainy season is 212 meters. (Ellalyn V. Ruiz)