Thursday, 1 October 2009

East area to have completely restored water supply

Jose Bimbo F. Santos

MANILA WATER Co., east zone concessionaire which covers many flooded areas, yesterday said it is targeting to completely restore supply by midnight today.

"By midnight [today], we might be able to get back on our feet completely," Rene D. Almendras, Manila Water president, said in a press conference.

From the initial 46,300 affected residents tallied on Sunday in the aftermath of tropical storm Ondoy, the Ayala-led utility said the number was trimmed to 38,000 as of noon yesterday.

Mr. Almendras said eight pumping stations were rendered useless by the flood brought about by tropical storm Ondoy and restoration work is under way.

But more than the repair of pumping stations, Mr. Almendras said that the sheer volume of demand "has increased significantly" following the clean-up operations after the typhoon, and this prevented water from reaching certain locations.

Average peak consumption recorded is at 1,300 million liters per day (MLD). After typhoon Ondoy, peak consumption hit 1,800 MLD. Manila Water’s full production capacity is 1,600 MLD.

Initial affected areas were Rodriguez, San Mateo, Cainta, Angono and Binangonan in Rizal province, while parts of Marikina City also experienced service interruption due to higher consumption.

Assuaging fears, Manila Water denied that its supply has been contaminated as reported in chlorine-level studies after the storm. "Our water is potable," Mr. Almendras said.

He also debunked claimed that an aggravating factor behind the floods in Metro Manila was due the water released from La Mesa dam in Quezon City, which is a common purpose facility by Manila Water and west concessionaire Maynilad Water Services, Inc.

"La Mesa dam does not have a gate that you can open and suddenly release a huge volume of water. It is called a spillway, there is a certain level where if the water reaches that it starts spilling. It doesn’t spill huge amounts," Mr. Almendras said.

For his part, Noelito S. Abesamis, senior manager of regulation and corporate development group, said the dam’s spillway goes through the Tullahan river, opposite that of flood-hit areas in the east like Marikina, Pasig and Cainta.

Meanwhile, Maynilad Water Services said in a statement yesterday that its supply "is potable and in full compliance with the Philippine National Standards for Drinking Water."

"We are closely coordinating with the local health officials... to ensure the safety of our customers, and we have not received any reports or complaints regarding the quality of our water," the company said.

The utility also said that its system is "95% back to normal [and will] restore supply [to affected areas] at the soonest time possible."

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