Philippines suffers from water shortage for days

World Today

Millions of people in Manila, Philippines are suffering from a water shortage. It’s the worst water crisis the city has seen in years.

As CGTN’s Barnaby Lo explains, the onset of drought is only partly to blame for the problem.

It’s summer in the Philippines, and for many Filipinos, that means bath time, twice a day, and consequently, more clothes to wash—but not for half of residents of the capital Manila.

For days now, at different hours of the day, they’ve had to wait for water rations.

“We have been waiting for water since 10 last night,” Jobel Ibanez, a resident of metro Manila said. “It’s already past 12 noon now and we’re still waiting.”

Manila Water, the private concessionaire that services the east side of the sprawling city of 12 million said that while the onset of drought has contributed to the problem, it isn’t the main culprit.

“The supply that we’re getting doesn’t match the demand anymore that we have from our customers,” Dittie Galang, the spokesperson of Manila Water said. “Our allocation, that’s 1.6 billion, doesn’t match anymore the production demand that we have right now, which is at 1.74 billion liters per day. So that’s a clear 140 million liters of deficit on a daily basis.”

The other private concessionaire of water in Metro Manila has started sharing its water allocation to Manila Water, which supplies water to this side of Metro Manila that is having a shortage. That and other stop-gap measures have been implemented but it looks like they’ve not been enough.

Even if there is, in fact, enough water in another dam to last Manila for months, Manila Water and the country’s water regulator claim there is no infrastructure to let the excess amount of water flow into distribution lines. Temporary solutions are helping restore water supply gradually but the government concedes – new sources of potable water should have been built yesterday.