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Angat dam water level dipping back to critical
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Angat dam water level dipping back to critical

MALOLOS, Philippines, July 11 ------ Metro Manila residents should continue strict water conservation efforts as the water level of Angat dam here is just a few centimeters above its 160-meter critical level. Maricel Cruz of the Bulacan provincial public affairs office said that as of 2 p.m. yesterday, the water level of Angat Dam was monitored at 160.18 meters or only 18 centimeters above critical. It was recorded earlier yesterday at 160.28 meters at 8 a.m. and 160.24 at 11 a.m. If it breaches the critical level, it will be the second time since the start of this year’s rainy season.

Mary Joy David, project development officer II of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management of the Department of Agriculture, told The STAR that cloud seeding operations are continuing in the vicinity of Angat and La Mesa watershed so that rains would replenish the two dams. Currently, an average of two to three sorties per day are being made for the cloud-seeding operations, depending on the presence of seedable clouds within the watershed areas, David added. Bro. Martin Francisco, chairman of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmentalists Society Inc. based in Sitio Suha, Barangay San Mateo in Norzagaray, Bulacan, said that in the past five days there were no heavy rains in the Angat watershed.

Angat Dam provides 97 percent of the potable water needs of Metro Manila residents who are currently experiencing rotational water service interruptions. The National Water Resources Board slashed the water allocation to Metro Manila’s water concessionaires Maynilad Water Services and Manila Water when Angat Dam breached its 160-meter critical level last June 22. Angat Dam’s priority is for the potable water needs of Metro Manila residents, followed by power generation for electricity and lastly for irrigation purposes for Bulacan and some of Pampanga’s farms.

Environmentalists have urged the government to prolong the water holding capacity of Angat Dam by intensifying the promotion of forest protection in watershed areas, relocation to other areas of informal settlers, recognize the certificate of ancestral domain of the indigenous people living there, promote tribal-ecotourism in the areas, stop the operators and financiers of illegal loggers from their activities inside the watershed.