QUEZON CITY — Government and private stakeholders on Monday agreed to implement measures in order to conserve water to prevent a repetition of water crisis in 2019 and to address the threats of El Nino.

During a public forum with the theme: “Philippine Water Management Agenda: Ensuring Sustainability and Security” organized by the Stratbase ADR (Albert del Rosario) Institute) at the Seda Hotel in Quezon City on Monday afternoon, Water Resource Management Office (WRMO) executive director Undersecretary CP David said that he would not want to experience again the water crisis that happened in 2019.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. ordered the creation of the WMRO two months ago in order to address the impact of the impending El Nino which began in June this year and is expected to last until the first quarter of 2024.

Households were forced to save and reserve a drum of water in their bathrooms so as not to be inconvenienced by the scarce supply of water, according to David.

David noted that when water rates go up it is only then that people come to realize how precious water is.

It was pointed out that water crisis does not only concern Metro Manila, but Cebu City and Davao City as well.

It also noted that there are presently 25,000 water districts scattered all over the Philippines that cater to the water supply needs of households and the like.

In Cebu City, they only have had a single dam that is the Buhisan Dam which was built in 1951 and that there had been no other dam built in Cebu since then.

Cebu has a requirement of 570 million liters of water each day but the Cebu Water, which is a subsidiary of Manila Water, can only supply about 270 million liters of water each day.

It means that there is there is a deficit of about 300 million liters of water each day.

Water in Cebu is salty and the deeper deep wells are excavated, the more saline it becomes and “desalination” process is expensive.

Cebu can tap the water resources of Bohol province but to no avail.

For her part, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) administrator Engr. Bobby Cleofas noted that the Angat Dam, which was built in 1968, now counts for 90 percent of the source of water for Metro Manila’s 20 million population.

On the other hand, she noted that it took 8 years for a clearance to be issued for the P20.2-billion Kaliwa Dam project in Rizal province which is expected to be fully operational in January 2027.

The Kaliwa Dam is expected to generate an additional 600 million liters of water to supply Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces.

The MWSS chief stressed that the MWSS is a government corporation that supervises and regulates the water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water Corporation.

For his part, Maynilad Water Services Company, Inc. president and chief executive officer Ramoncito Fernandez expressed his gladness that they a “friend” In government such that whenever they will undertake an excavation for repair operations, they are easily accommodated by the Department of Public Works and Highways as well as the concerned local government unit.

Maynilad has sewage treatments plants that treat wastewater before it is released to bodies of water. – By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.