Below normal La Mesa water level fans conservation call

MANILA — Water at the La Mesa Dam is at below normal level, raising the need for water conservation among its customers to help ensure the availability of reserve until the 2019 rainy season begins.

The dam’s 6 a.m. water level on Saturday was only 72.19 meters, noted Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) hydrologist Richard Orendain. “That water level is too low,” Orendain said.

He added that La Mesa’s water level around this time of the year is normally between 78 meters and 79 meters.

“Water conservation will help make reserve there available over a longer period,” he said.

There’s a need to prolong the availability of La Mesa’s reserve as the dry season is not over and the rainy season generally begins between late May and early June, he explained.

Repairing leaking pipes, reusing water, turning off the faucet while brushing and mulching plants are among water conservation measures experts are recommending.

Orendain said that at present, La Mesa Dam has a 47-cubic-meter-per-second (cms) allocation of water from Angat Dam, its sole sources.

Such allocation is higher than the 44 cms the government normally earmarks for La Mesa Dam during the dry season, he noted.

La Mesa Dam’s reserve is still decreasing due to the increasing population and water use in the facility’s service areas like Metro Manila, he said.

Orendain added that water prospects can be better if the dam has another source that would augment supply from Angat Dam.

He said water from Angat passes through the Ipo Dam then flows into the La Mesa Dam.

The Angat-Ipo-La Mesa water system supplies most of Metro Manila’s water.

The expected rainfall shortage during the dry season’s peak or during summer is also fueling urgency for conserving La Mesa’s reserve, he said.

“If nothing’s done to conserve La Mesa’s reserve, water level there can dip to about 65 meters or 66 meters by April 2019’s end,” he said, adding that the projection is below La Mesa’s lowest 2018 water level of 70.16 meters on June 6 last year.

Earlier, PAGASA forecast below-normal rainfall this month and March in Metro Manila where the La Mesa Dam is located.

PAGASA also forecasts way-below normal rainfall in Metro Manila this April, one of the country’s hottest months.

Philippine ‘summers’ are generally from April to May. Water use surges during these months as people find ways to cool themselves. Catherine Teves/PNA –