Angat water elevation climbs by 45 meters

    MALOLOS CITY—Water elevation at the Angat Dam climbed by 45 meters since it dropped to 157 meters on July 15, the lowest elevation recorded in the dam’s 42-year history.

    Based on records from the Provincial Disaster Management Office (PDMO), water elevation at the dam climbed to 202.95 meters yesterday.

    The all-time low water elevation at the dam raised serious concerns on Metro Manila’s potable water supply not only for the year 2010, but in the future as well.

    It led Malacanang to seriously consider drawing water from the Laguna Lake, according to Environment Secretary Ramon Paje.

    Located on eastern Bulacan, the giant Angat Dam supplies 97 percent of Metro Manila’s potable water requirement as well as irrigation needs from some 27,000 hectares of farmlands in Bulacan and southern Pampanga.

    In an earlier interview, the National Power Corporation (Napocor) which manages the dam said that current water elevation at the dam meant secured water supply for Metro Manila for the next six months.

    They noted that water supply from the dam is a grave concern as it is dependent on available rainfall throughout the year, and increasing population of Metro Manila that demands increase water allocation.

    This was specifically true as potable water supply in some parts of Metro Manila were temporarily cut off in August and September leaving hundreds of resident lining up for water supplied by fire trucks.

    In Bulacan, rice farmers also complained of lack of water allocation for irrigation as early as April, and delayed water allocation that led them to wait until late August.

    This led farmers to raise concerns not only on their livelihood, but on food production as well.

    For their part, the Napocor suggested construction of mini-dams along the Angat River between the Ipo and Bustos Dam that will serve as temporary reservoir of water spill from the Angat Dam during rainy season.

    Engineer Rodolfo German, general manager of the Angat River Hydro Electric Power Plant (Arhepp), said that proposed mini-dams can also generate up to two megawatt of electricity.

    But water supply availability is not the only concern raised on Angat Dam for the year 2010.

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned that the dam is sitting on the Marikina fault line that extends to Taal Lake in Batangas.

    Phivolcs warning came in the light of powerful earthquakes that shook cities in different countries around the Pacific ring of fire.

    This led suggestions for comprehensive study of the 42-year old dam’s stability.

    Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Alvarado called for possible retrofitting of the dam while Engineer Roderick Dela Cruz, a Bulakenyo dam safety engineer based in California, offered his expertise.

    Dela Cruz also suggested regular inspection of the dam’s rock and earth-filled barriers.

    While these concerns were raised in 2010, most of them were left largely unnoticed as no move from the national government has been done to address them. 


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