WEST Zone concessionaire Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (Maynilad) said on Tuesday that they had laid out interventions, such as the installation of ultrasonic algae control equipment and upgrade of its silt curtain, as the government and the private sector are keeping an eye on all water resources to ensure that supply will be enough to meet the demand, especially as El Niño looms over the country.
Muntinlupa Mayor Ruffy Biazon had said that the deteriorating water quality in Laguna Lake, the country’s largest lake and a major source of potable water, is due to industrial pollutants, excessive fish feeds, and chemicals threatens to cut Metro Manila’s water source.
Biazon said that it is “imperative” to protect the lake from pollutants to keep its quality stable and avert any water interruption that the poor water quality may cause.
“For Laguna Lake to become a truly viable source of drinking water, it has to be protected. It is important to develop and implement programs and projects for the lake to ensure that its water quality is maintained at standards intended for its use,” he said.
Maynilad said that they had laid out interventions, to prevent the situation from worsening that may trigger water interruption.
The water concessionaire said that Maynilad consistently upgrades its water treatment facility to provide customers with clean water, it admitted that the prolonged high turbidity in Laguna Lake makes it harder for treatment plants to process water before supplying it to the customers.
Reports said that Laguna Lake has become shallow to as low as two meters due to siltation that strong gusts of wind can easily stir up sediments in the lake bed — making the raw water highly turbid.
Based on Maynilad’s monitoring of the lake’s water quality, the water’s Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU) reached 154 levels in April and a high of 233 NTU from 1 to 7 May.
Ideally, the lake’s NTU should be below 100 or ranging from only 40 to 70.
Thus, Maynilad began dredging the portion of the lake near its facility’s intake structure to minimize vulnerability to spikes in turbidity. It has also been replacing the filters of its treatment plants more frequently than the filter’s expected lifespan.
Maynilad currently gets 300 MLD from Laguna Lake through its two treatment plants in Brgy. Putatan in Muntinlupa City.
The supply serves around 10 percent of the company’s total customer base.
The rest or 90 percent of its supply is sourced from Angat Dam in Bulacan.
Maynilad began tapping Laguna Lake as an alternate source of raw water in 2010.
It is currently in the process of constructing its third treatment facility, which will be completed by the end of the year.
The latest data from the state-run Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) showed that there is a high concentration of blue-green algae in the lake, a form of bacteria that adversely affects both water quality and the filtration system in the lake.
Although algae are fish food, the LLDA warned that the buildup can also cause fish kills. To date, around 80 percent of bangus and tilapia supply in Metro Manila comes from Laguna Lake.
Thus, the LLDA deployed more than a hundred solar-powered paddle wheels to prevent the growth of the algae.
Catherine R. Cueto