The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System on Tuesday raised the alarm over the poor water supply at Angat Dam in Bulacan, saying its elevation could further dip below the critical level of 160 meters.
In a dzMM radio interview, MWSS Administrator Reynaldo Velasco said the dam’s water level “a little above” the 160-meter critical mark.
He said the rains in the past week were not enough to help replenish the dam’s dwindling supply.
According to Elmer Karingal, a Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration’s hydrologist, as of yesterday 6 a.m., the dam’s water level went down to 161.78 meters from Monday’s 162.39 meters.
“We observed the water elevation go down by .61 meters yesterday, or more than half-a-meter,” he said.
“We have projected that should there’ll be no rain on June 20, the level would plunge to 160 meters,” Velasco said.
Karingal, for his part, said the dam’s elevation could even dip below 160 meters.
“On July 18, 2010, Angat Dam was at its lowest at 157.56 meters. In July 2014, its elevation went down to 160 meters something. But based on our hydrograph or manual graph, despite the prevailing El Niño phenomenon during those years, Angat Dam was able to recover from its low water supply,” he said.
“We are hoping rains would come on the third week of July or first week of August since typhoons are expected to enter the country and to spawn rains,” he added.
The enhancement of the southwest monsoon due to a typhoon could trigger downpour, he said.
Velasco fears that Angat Dam’s level would reach 154 meters by end of June, saying the two water concessionaires of MWSS—the Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc.—might end up adopting rotational service or service interruption, and water rationing.
The two water firms advised their over 15-million customers to prepare for possible water interruptions. A rotational service interruption in the East Zone concession area would start Tuesday night, Manila Water said.
The National Water Resources Board has reduced the volume allotted to concessionaires from 46 cubic meters per second to 40 cms.
Meanwhile, grid operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines placed the Luzon grid on red alert due to shortage of power generation capacity for three hours on Tuesday, the 11th red alert raised since January this year which resulting to rotational brownouts in selected areas.
Manila Electric Co. implemented manual load dropping or removing loads from the grid starting from 1:19 p.m. yesterday which affected areas in Calumpit, Hagonoy and Malolos in Bulacan. Meralco also implemented MLD in some areas in Metro Manila namely Caloocan, Malabon and Navotas.
Meralco put on standby participants of its interruptible load program in the wake of the supply deficiency.
“Corporations and commercial establishments participating under the ILP are ready to use their generator sets to help prevent / minimize incidents of power outage,” the company said.
NGCP also issued a yellow alert for the Luzon grid from 9am to 10am, 11am to 1pm, 3pm to 5pm, 6pm to 9pm. This is the 32nd yellow alert issued by NGCP since January. A yellow alert is raised when the reserves fall below the single biggest power unit in the grid.
NGCP reported that available capacity was placed at 11,402MW versus peak demand of 11,114MW.
The grid operator said it may implement an MLD in selected areas to maintain the integrity of the power system. These areas includes parts of Pampanga, Batangas, Camarines Sur, Tarlac, Sorsogon and Metro Manila.
“Schedule may be cancelled if system condition improves, such as if actual demand falls below projections. NGCP encourages everyone to exercise prudence in using electricity,” it said.
According to data from the Department of Energy, four power plants with combined dependable capacity of 710 MW are offline while hydro power plants are operating at below capacity. Some power plants with total capacity of 540 MW are also on continued maintenance shutdown.
The 316 MW SLTEC coal plant went on forced outage due to the “tripping of the coal feeder motors caused by ground fault” while unit 2 (150 MW) of the Limay coal plant and SLTEC unit 2 (135 MW) suffered boiler tube leak problem.
The 200 MW Angat hydropower plant is presently running a zero capacity and the 290 MW San Roque hydro plant is also running only at 238 MW due to low water dam levels. The Angat plant had no water allocation from the National Water Resources Board.
The 120 MW Pantabangan hydro plant is also running at only 45 MW while units 1 to 3 of the Ambuklao hydro plant with a capacity 105 MW is running only at 70 MW also due to low water levels.
Unit 2 (300 MW) of the Calaca coal plant is running only at 200 MW due to half condenser operation.