Regulate water use in golf courses, malls

ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines—As water has become a luxury to the people of Metro Manila and the nearby provinces due to El Niño, the Water for the People Network (WPN) urges the water companies that instead regulating the use of the common tao of the precious liquid, why not regulate the corporate use of it, instead.

The WPN issued this statement as Maynilad Water Services Inc. publicly announced, Wednesday (April 7) that more than half a million of its customers will face water supply disruption starting this month because of the declining water level in the Angat Dam.

It is said that the water level in Angat that supplies 97% of the water needs of Metro Manila, is expected to fall to 176 meters, the lowest in six years, because of El Niño.

For this reason, Maynilad said that about 560,000 people in 156 barangays will experience lower water pressure or “shortened water supply schedules.”

“It is [now] crucial for authorities to strictly monitor and regulate the wasteful use of water by golf courses, malls, hotels, private parks, car wash shops, and other commercial establishments,” the WPN said in a statement.

Citing a report from the United Nations (UN), WPN said that an 18-hole golf course, consumes an average of 2.3 million liters of water per day, thus causing an enormous impact on water withdrawals.

Meanwhile, it is said that a person needs between 20 to 50 liters of water daily for his/her basic needs.

“This means that water used for an 18-hole golf course can meet the basic and more important water needs of around 46,000 to as high as 115,000 people,” said the WPN.

Since the privatization of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) in 1997, Maynilad is the one which has been serving the west zone of Metro Manila while Manila Water Co., serves the east zone.

However, the WPN hit the two companies for the failure in providing reliable and universal access to water for the people in Metro Manila and several towns in Rizal and Cavite, after more than a decade of acquiring the shares from the MWSS.

“At present, many areas in Metro Manila and parts of Rizal and Cavite, in particular the poor communities still do not have access to the privatized water distribution system of the MWSS. Even without an El Niño, more than 3.2 million people in Metro Manila who are supposed to be served by the private water concessionaires do not have access to water. Water losses, mostly from leaking pipes that the private water concessionaires have long neglected, reach more than 1.5 million liters per day,” the WPN said.

Due this, the WPN urges the government to reverse the privatization of the MWSS as a long term solution for the water crisis. The WPN also reiterated its earlier demand to stop the planned privatization of the Angat Dam and instead turn over its control and management to the public water sector. (CBCPNews)