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House panels authorize technical working group to draft water crisis plan for Metro Manila

house panels authorize technical working group to draft water crisis plan for metro manila 816x445 - House panels authorize technical working group to draft water crisis plan for Metro Manila
Manila Water 052919 - House panels authorize technical working group to draft water crisis plan for Metro Manila
Tangled water pipes at Brgy. Damayang Lagi in E. Rodriguez, Quezon City. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

TWO House committees agreed to form a technical working group that will draft a master plan to avert future water supply crises similar to the interruptions in March, legislators said.

The committees on Government Enterprises and Privatization and Public Works and Highways jointly approved the plan Tuesday as embodied in resolutions 2547 and 2548 written respectively by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the chair of the Committee on Metro Manila Development, Rep. Winston Castelo of the 2nd district of Quezon City.

“There is no lead agency to coordinate the different government offices towards the goal of averting these crisis… We have to accelerate the submission of the contingency plan so we will be able to address the issue and prevent the recurrence of the Metro Manila (water shortage),” Mr. Castelo said during deliberations Tuesday.

Water shortages have hit Metro Manila this year due to low water levels at Angat Dam.

According to House Resolution 2547, the technical working group will be composed of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), National Water Resources Board (NWRB), Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), Department of Agriculture (DA), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Manila Water Company, Inc. (MWCI), and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (MWSI).

House Resolution 2548 urges the MWSS, MWSS-Regulatory Office (MWSS-RO), NWRB, LWUA, Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), NIA, MWCI, and MWSI to immediately formulate a water security master plan for Metro Manila.

“What we envision now is a coordinated effort, not only with the regulators but also with the major players right now and other agencies involved in the distribution of water like NIA and LWUA,” Mr. Castelo added.

He said the plan also needs to be readily implemented “at the push of a button” should a new water crisis emerge. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

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