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House probes water shortage amid Angat Dam water level decline

The House of Representatives will look into the water shortage amid the declining water level of Angat Dam with House Speaker Gloria M. Arroyo leading the oversight hearing tomorrow.

Arroyo sought the oversight hearing as Angat Dam in Bulacan, which supplies water to Metro Manila and Central Luzon, reached critical level, prompting a reduction in Metro Manila’s water supply.

Local Water Utilities Administration acting Administrator Jeci Lapus has asked the House leadership to step in and find solutions for Angat which had hit critical level. He batted for the implementation of long-term measures to prevent a water crisis from happening.

According to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration, Angat Dam breached critical level last Saturday.

Arroyo, the first lady House Speaker, counts on the officials of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, National Water Resources Bureau, LWUA, and National Irrigation Authority to attend the hearing at 10 a.m.

Also expected to attend the hearing are officials from the Departments of Agriculture, Budget and Management, Environment and Natural Resources, and Public Works and Highways, National Economic and Development Authority, and water concessionaires Manila Water Co. Inc. and the Maynilad Water Services Inc., among others.
Arroyo noted that the proposed creation of a Department of Water will be included in the agenda. The measure “will be evaluated by the committee for the next Congress to act upon,” she said.

Last March, the House leadership launched an oversight hearing on the water crisis affecting the east side of Metro Manila. This prodded Maynilad to open five of its surplus valves and Manila Water to supply 50 million of water to ease the burden of the estimated 1.2 million households in the area. (Charissa L. Atienza)