‘Faster growth impacts Metro Manila’s water source’

Angat Dam

ECONOMIC expansion will increase the water consumption of households and commercial establishments in Metro Manila and add more pressure to its existing water sources, according to a study presented at the National Convention on Statistics organized by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The study, titled “Impact of Gross Domestic Product to Water Consumption of Manila Water [2010 to 2017]” was authored by Manila Water Co. Inc. analysts Adora Candyd Vilar and Minette Lois Morales.

The authors noted that in terms of east zone Metro Manila consumers, a 1-percent increase in GDP will hike the billed volume of water.

“We therefore conclude that among other external factors, GDP is one of the drivers of billed volume, as the two were found to be co-integrated,” the authors

The authors said that water consumption is based on a complex process that is influenced by many factors such as water supply restrictions, tariff structure and pricing.

The study supported previous research that showed higher GDP growth significantly increased municipal water use both in terms of percentage and volume.

The authors applied these findings to the Philippine setting using water consumption in the east zone of Metro Manila and socioeconomic development represented by GDP.

“Domestic water usage is categorized to have an inelastic demand; this conveys that regardless of the price the demand for the goods stay constant. To sustain the constancy of the demand it is crucial to have a model that could represent the future demand to enable sustainable water resource management,” the authors said.

At the sidelines of a water crisis hearing at the House of Representatives in August, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) advised Metro Manila residents to keep their water tanks on standby as the megacity is still at risk of a recurrence of the water crisis.

NWRB Executive Director Sevillo D. David Jr. told the BusinessMirror that as the megacity expands, the more “water-stressed” it becomes.

David said each Filipino uses 120 liters per day. When this is multiplied by 14 million, Metro Manila’s current population, it translates to 1.68 million cubic meters (MCM) per day.

“For the last 10 years, the population and development of Metro Manila continued and yet you only have one source. Demand is increasing. When populations double or triple, the demand for water is higher, sometimes five times or six times more,” he added.

David said this is why the government should now seriously consider tapping another water resource for Metro Manila.

Months after Metro Manila went waterless for weeks during summer, water concessionaire Manila Water said it may again implement round of water service interruptions starting Thursday if the water level in Angat Dam continues to drop. Angat Dam is the primary water source of Metro Manila.

“As we have consistently warned since last week, since the water level at Angat Dam continues to decline, Manila Water will begin implementing rotational water service interruption on the evening of October 24,” the company said in its advisory.

“This is necessary because we want to ensure that the still-limited raw water supply will last even beyond the summer of 2020 since Angat Dam may not reach its ideal 212-meter level by the end of 2019,” it added.

As of October 23, data from the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) showed that Angat Dam’s elevation was at 186.22 meters, still above the minimum operating level of 180 meters. The latest figure is slightly lower than the 186.44 meters recorded on October 22.

David noted the lowest level reached by Angat in the last 10 years was in 2010 when it reached 157.55 meters and the second lowest was recorded this year at 157.96 meters.

Image credits: Bernard Testa


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