Senate to probe unusual water service interruptions in Metro Manila, Rizal

People line up even at night to fill their containers with much needed water at a water rationing provided by Manila Water Company in Mandaluyong City, one of the cities in Metro Manila affected by the Manila Water’s water service interruption (Eagle News Service)


(Eagle News) – The Senate will investigate the unusual water shortage being experienced in Metro Manila and parts of Rizal which are being serviced by the Manila Water Company.

Senators expressed alarm about the extended water service interruptions, as they noted that only one water concessionaire is having problems with water supply.

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara observed that while Manila Water had been suffering supply woes, its west zone counterpart Maynilad was not.

“One service provider is saying there is a problem, the other says none. That is something, I think, the regulators should investigate,” he said in a statement.

Angara said Congress should also look into the water shortage problem so it could come up with long-term solutions to ensure adequate water supplies amid the country’s rapidly rising population and continued economic development.

-Hearing set next week-

The Senate committee on public services headed by Senator Grace Poe said that the hearing on the water crisis in the country would be held next Tuesday at 10 a.m.

“What we are seeing now is not normal and something that our households and farmers do not deserve,” Poe said in a statement on Wednesday.

Angara said he was concerned with the severe water service interruptions across the concession area of Manila Water, causing inconvenience to many businesses and residents.

“It’s very concerning,” Angara said. “We have to ask a certain number of questions because we get conflicting reports. Is it a problem of service delivery?”

Manila Water, which covers the east zone of Metro Manila and Rizal province, has advised its customers to expect more water interruptions in the following days due to limited water supply as El Niño begins to set in the country.

-Angara: Structural reforms in water sector needed – 

Angara said that with the growing population in Metro Manila, there will be further demand for water in the future which might result in a more severe water shortage.

“You really have to look at your supply many years down the road. That is something Congress can look into.”

He said that there is also a need for structural reforms in the water sector as he noted that some 30 agencies of the government are currently involved in water and sanitation policy, among them the National Water Resources Board, the Local Water Utilities Administration and the Metropolitan Water Sewerage System.

The current setup, he said, is inefficient with jurisdictions overlapping one another.

“I think we really need a high level of discussion whether our underlying philosophies are valid and whether these agencies are serving the people well,” Angara added.