It’s been a week since parts of Metro Manila experienced hours-long water interruptions and people are getting antsy. Partly because it’s just so darn hard to live without water, but also because authorities can’t seem to solve the problem.
On the hot seat at the moment is Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) chief regulator Patrick Ty, who is now being blamed by netizens for the water crisis.
The online mob was sparked by a Facebook post from Ty where he said that the water interruptions can be solved by establishing new water sources.
“Manila Water has been warning that there will be a looming water shortage if we don’t have a new water source soon, they announced it again just last year. Metro Manila has no new water source because of oppositions to Kaliwa Dam, Laiban Dam, etc.”
Manila Water supplies the water for the eastern part of Metro Manila, where the water interruptions have been happening.
Ty also said that because of a population increase, Manila Water’s water requirement is now at 1,759 millions of liters per day (mld), beyond their current 1,600mld. allocation.
The post has since been deleted but netizen Myles Jamito took screenshots of it that have now gone viral because of allegations by a commenter who introduced himself as a veteran MWSS employee.
So, the Chief Regulator of MWSS posted a status update with numbers and percentages and other technical stuff explaining…
Commenter Angel Salazar alleged that the solution to the crisis is actually really simple: “[O]pen the bypass and the problem will be solved,” he said.
Salazar alleged that the MWSS ordered to close the bypass in Quezon City’s La Mesa Dam, which caused all the water to go to Maynilad, the provider that services the western half of the metro. Areas serviced by Maynilad are not experiencing the water interruptions.
Ty replied to Salazar’s allegations, saying that he didn’t order any closure. He also said that the bypass is part of the “common purpose facility,” which he said is under Maynilad and Manila Water, and not the MWSS.
Ty reiterated this in an interview with ABS-CBN News reporter Alvin Elchico.
“I do not control the bypass valve of the common purpose facility. The bypass is open. It ensures that Manila Water gets its water allocation of 1,600mld. If you close it, the water from Angat [Dam] will not flow to Manila Water,” he said.
Ty also said that the bypass ensured that Maynilad gets 60 percent of the water while Manila Water gets 40 percent. He explained that Maynilad has a bigger allocation because they supposedly have more customers.
Maynilad engineer Ronaldo Padua also told radio station Dobol B that the bypass in question has been open for two years and is only closed when there’s too much water coming from the Angat Dam.
Still, many netizens continue to blame Ty for the alleged mishandling of the situation.
Jamito’s screenshots of the Facebook exchange now has 48,000 shares, 21,000 reactions, and close to 9,000 comments. Ty is also currently trending on Philippine Twitter, with many slamming him because of the allegations.
Metro Manila residents have mostly been kept in the dark about the water interruptions experienced by customers of Manila Water. Homes and establishments on the eastern part of the metro have not had water for six to 21 hours daily ever since last week.
This has been credited to the ongoing drought but some suspect that politics is coming into play as well because government officials are now pushing for the controversial China-funded Kaliwa Dam project.
The government says the dam will help provide more water to people but environmentalists and non-government organizations have long been against the project because it could allegedly displace communities and destroy the biodiversity in the area.