Reelectionist Senator Sonny Angara wants government regulators and Congress to look into the cause of the water shortage affecting parts of Metro Manila and Rizal province even as he called for long-term solutions to meet the country’s growing water demand.
This as Angara expressed concern over the ongoing 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 noted that while Manila Water had been suffering supply woes, its west zone counterpart Maynilad is 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.
Angara said Congress should also look into the water shortage problem with the end view of coming up with long-term solutions to ensure adequate water supplies amid the country’s rapidly rising population and continued economic development.
“With the growing population and we all have these economic conditions, there will be a growing demand in the Greater Manila Area,” Angara said.
He added: “You really have to look at your supply many years down the road. That is something Congress can look into.”
At the same time, Angara underscored the 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 said.