Water shortage is unthinkable under COVID-19 | Inquirer Opinion

Water shortage is unthinkable under COVID-19

/ 05:01 AM September 10, 2020

Water rationing has started in our area with the scheduled one-week rehabilitation of the reservoirs of Maynilad. I don’t know if Manila Water, which was in a worse supply predicament last year (resulting in the resignation of its top executive) is doing the same.

It is unthinkable to have water shortage in Metro Metro Manila under COVID-19. We recall the humongous crisis that affected more than 10,000 homes in March 2019 because of El Niño having brought down the water levels of La Mesa Dam to a critical point. And we didn’t even have a pandemic then.


The weather bureau now predicts that the hot months will continue until early December this year. The temperature in the NCR in the previous months had been consistently higher than 30 degrees Celsius, with hardly any significant rainfall. Last year, in those critical months, the levels of Angat Dam fell below the critical point of 160 meters, which reduced the water supply to La Mesa Dam that early on had dried up. The water then came in trickles into our homes from the pipelines of Manila Water and Maynilad Water. The fallout created a lot of problems for the two water companies, and got the President’s ire.

Are we going to have the same water shortage in the months ahead, under COVID-19 at that?


A water supply shortage in the midst of a pandemic would really be a headache of cosmic proportions, if that’s a better way of describing it than having a hole in the head! Our water authorities and the water monopolies better start figuring out a game plan to handle this catastrophe, should it ever happen.

The plan need not depend on the heavenly mercies of better rainfall or a freak tropical depression bringing in rains. It should assume the worst of El Niño and address the conservation and practical utilization of water now, before we come even near the prospect of losing the water we all need to wash off the virus. More than ever, we cannot have a water crisis now.

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TAGS: coronavirus pandemic, coronavirus philippines, COVID-19, Letters to the Editor, Marvel K. Tan, water shortage
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