MWSS seeks operational control of Angat Dam

Posted at 07/23/2010 10:01 AM | Updated as of 07/23/2010 12:38 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) wants to take over the management of Angat Dam from the National Power Corporation (NPC) to protect consumers from a repeat of the water crisis gripping a large part of the metropolis.

"Kailangang mailipat sa amin for the protection of the consumers (Angat Dam's operational control should be transferred to us for the protection of the consumers)," Macra Cruz of the MWSS said.

The MWSS, with the support of water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water, is expected to formally ask President Benigno Aquino III on Friday to transfer to them the responsibility over the management of  Angat Dam from the NPC.

The MWSS said that a repeat of the severe water shortage problem being felt mostly by the consumers of Maynilad is more likely to happen in the coming years if NPC remains in control of the Angat Dam.

The agency is also expected to ask President Aquino to stop the privatization of the water reservoir.

Maynilad's chief operations officer, Herbert Consunji, said handing over Angat Dam to a private company would also pose a threat to Metro Manila's water supply.

Consunji believes that any winning bidder of the Angat Dam would solely use the water for power generation.

The 2 water concessionaires have also expressed willingness to shell out big money to support the MWSS in managing the Angat Dam.

Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson, Maynilad's former executive, has blamed the NPC's "excessive" release of water late last year for the ongoing water shortage problem that affects nearly 3 million metro residents.

Singson said the NPC brought down Angat Dam's water level from November to December last year for fear of being blamed again for flash floods in Metro Manila and some northern provinces of Luzon.

The release came a month after Luzon was hit by floods caused by heavy rains brought on by typhoon Ondoy.

Ondoy poured a record-breaking rain volume that led the water reserve in Angat Dam to spill over. However, in just 7 months, the dam's water level went down to its lowest, causing the water shortage problem in Metro Manila. -- Report from Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News