DENR National Capital Region, through its Production Forest and Management Section (PFMS) and Regional Strategic Communication and Initiatives Group (RSCIG), conducted a webinar on the State of Groundwater Resources of Metro Manila” on 24 March 2022
The virtual learning event, held in celebration of World Water Week (March 21-26), was attended by representatives of the 17 local government units of Metro Manila. The webinar called on the participants to protect the groundwater resources of Metro Manila, reminding everyone that these could be used during times of crisis. In 2019, Metro Manila experienced a shortage in the water supply due to El Niño. The water level from the sources of water in the region—the Angat and Ipo Dam in Bulacan, and the La Mesa Water Reservation area in Quezon City—went down to a critical level. Fortunately, Metro Manila had enough groundwater reserves at that time because of the moratorium imposed on the construction of new deep wells.
Engr. Andrew Cepe of the Water Resource and Utilization Section (WRPS), DENR National Capital Region, talked about the “Status of the Metropolitan Manila Water Sources and Users Monitoring and Management” while Mr. Chrismar S. Punzal of the Manila Water Company, Inc. discussed “Groundwater Utilization as a Source of Water for Metropolitan Manila”. Meanwhile, Ms. Josie Natividad of EMB National Capital Region explained “Groundwater Contamination, Quality Management and the Salient Points of the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004” or Republic Act No. 9275.
WWD is an annual celebration that highlights the importance of fresh and clean water to all life on earth — humans, animals, and plants. It is celebrated by many countries including the Philippines every 22nd of March to remind everyone of the importance of fresh water and to promote the efficient management and use of our freshwater resources.
This year, the theme of the celebration is “Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible”. It aims to put the spotlight on groundwater resources and the need to protect and conserve these resources.
The webinar called on the participants to protect the groundwater resources of Metro Manila, reminding everyone that these could be used during times of crisis.
In 2019, Metro Manila experienced a shortage in the water supply due to El Niño. The water level at Angat and Ipo Dams in Bulacan, and the La Mesa Water Reservation area in Quezon City—the major sources of potable water for Metro Manila—went down, prompting regulators to tighten the supply and distribution of water to the more than 12 million residents of the region.
In addition, the government authorized the emergency use of the groundwater reserves of Metro Manila as, at that time, a moratorium was in effect on the construction of new deep wells in Metro Manila to allow for the replenishment of our aquifers. (The ban against the construction of new deep wells in NCR and Bulacan still stands to this day).
The 2019 water crisis, indeed, proves that groundwater, though invisible, impacts and sustains our lives.