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Agri chief cites Pantabangan as tap water source

The Agriculture department on Thursday proposed tapping alternative water sources to address the depleting water supply in Metro Manila―even as it said the total damage to crops as a result of El Niño was P1.3 billion and not P2.6 billion.

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said his department’s computations factored in the insurance for farmers, and that the P2.6-billion estimate by disaster officials was based on the crop damage figures given by local government units.

Piñol said Metro Manila could get water from other dams in Luzon that is being used mainly for irrigation aside from the water from the Angat, Ipo and La Mesa water reservoirs.

READ: Angat water level fast going down, PAGASA warns

He cited Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija.

Piñol said farmlands do not need irrigation the whole-year round so that the water from the other dams could be used to augment the water supply in Metro Manila.

“The water reserves in the large dams can be diverted to supply Metro Manila when farmlands do not use much water, Piñol said. 

But he said a thorough study should be undertaken before his proposal was implemented.

He said if additional solar irrigation systems were built in Central Luzon, the water from these alternative dams could be used to supply Metro Manila.

READ: Central Luzon El Niño-free, UPRIIS claims

Earlier this month, Metro Manila suffered a water crisis due to the depletion of water in La Mesa Dam.

Since Metro Manila’s population continues to grow, the level of water it needs also increases.

Based on its business plan, Maynilad has predicted a growth of one million customers by the end of its concession term in 2037.

This translates to about one billion liters of consumption per day.

Manila Water, meanwhile, has 6.8 million clients.

Just by these figures, Angat Dam’s reserve is already nearing the critical level, which prompted Piñol to propose alternative water sources.

READ: Palace sets meet on water shortage

READ: Water shortage probe begins

Topics: Department of Agriculture , El Niño , Manny Piñol , Pantabangan Dam , Angat Dam
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