State of calamity looms in parched Mandaluyong

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MANILA – Several barangay officials are set to recommend the declaration of a state of calamity in Mandaluyong due to a water shortage that has brought misery to thousands of residents, a local official said Thursday. 

Manila Water, which services the capital's east zone, has cut supply in several areas in Metro Manila and nearby areas as the water level in La Mesa Dam, its emergency source, dropped due to lack of rain and high demand.

Five barangays in Mandaluyong have no water as of 6 a.m., said information officer Jimmy Isidro. 

Officials in these villages will submit resolutions recommending a state of calamity, which Mandaluyong Mayor Carmelita Abalos will forward to the city council, he told radio DZMM. 

A state of calamity will allow the local government to tap emergency funds. 

An election ban currently prevents local officials from purchasing additional tankers that can deliver to areas without water, noted Isidro. 

Abalos, he said, has ordered the activation of deep wells and temporarily suspended carwash and laundry business operations, he said. 

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Mandaluyong's water comes from a pumping station, but this fails to fill up the city's reservoir as other areas take their share of the water, said Manila Water communications manager Dittie Galang. 

The concessionaire, she said, plans to totally cut off other areas' water supply for certain hours to give Mandaluyong's reservoir enough time to be filled, she told DZMM. 

Maynilad, the water concessionaire in the capital's west zone, has lent tankers to help deliver water to Manila Water's customers, said Galang. 

Maynilad also agreed to share 50 million liters of water daily to Manila Water, but the 2 firms were still studying which hydraulic lines they should open for a smooth cross-border flow, she said. 

The water sharing, she added, may be implemented in April. 

Manila Water's service interruptions may also continue for the next 3 months, until rains ease the water level at the La Mesa Water Shed, its emergency source, said Galang. 

A Senate panel next week will look into the water shortage. 

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