Press Release
October 1, 2015


It's literally a pipe dream but Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero has raised the need for a national transmission pipeline for water networks as the country is confronted with water shortages caused by the El Nino phenomenon.

"If we have the National Grid Corporation to link power plants for electric distribution, there should also be the same for water distribution in the country," Escudero said. "This is literally a pipe dream that we need to realize."

He said the Philippines must develop water transmission pipelines that would link water sources in every region to water distribution networks.

"As it is, we are already feeling the effects of El Nino with the water shortages. This is going to be aggravated in the coming months, and who knows what climate change will bring in the coming years? We need to have a program on capturing and transporting water across the distribution system," said Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

He cited the case of Angat dam in Bulacan and Magat dam in Isabela, which are on extreme ends of their holding capacity.

The water level in Angat dam, which supplies 98 percent of Metro Manila's potable water, is already critical because of decreased rainfall. The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) said the water level is at 189 meters, below its normal 210 meters.

Already, 155 barangays serviced by the Manila Water Company are experiencing reduced water pressure due to the reservoir's falling water level. To meet Metro Manila households' water requirement, the NWRB has temporarily stopped the dam's supply of water for irrigation. Angat irrigates 23,000 hectares of farmland of Bulacan and Pampanga.

While Angat Dam is drying up, Magat dam is approaching spilling level due to heavy rain, and residents are bracing for floods as the National Irrigation Administration has ordered the release of water.

The Magat reservoir is a multi-purpose dam that provides irrigation to the Cordillera, Ilocos and Cagayan Valley regions. It also powers a hydro-electric plant.

"You see how ironic this is, we have a reservoir drying up while one is overflowing. If we have a program that could catch, store and eventually redistribute this water to households, we will be able to address the water shortage and bridge the gap in access and supply," Escudero said.

The senator said public water supply services in the country are provided by almost 5,400 public and private water service providers. However, the disparity in meeting the demands for domestic and agricultural uses remains a challenge.

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