The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is supporting the government’s plan of sourcing additional water supply from the Laguna Lake to address the perennial water woes of Metro Manila, Secretary Roy Cimatu said.

During the agency’s presentation of its proposed P25 billion budget for 2020, Cimatu told the House Committee on Appropriations that the DENR is open to tapping the Laguna Lake to complement the water supply in the metropolis.

“The population of Metro Manila has multiplied and the computation on water consumption is already different.”

“Dumami na ang population ng Metro Manila at iba na po ang computation on water consumption (The population of Metro Manila has multiplied and the computation on water consumption is already different). Kaya (So) we approve of using Laguna Lake as one of the water sources of Metro Manila,” the environment chief said.

The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), an attached agency of the DENR, also supports the move.

LLDA general manager Jaime Medina pointed out that at present, 3 percent of the current supply volume of water concessionaires Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Company Inc. are sourced from the Laguna Lake.

“We could get more (from Laguna Lake), para hindi lahat naka-depende sa Angat Dam (so that we are not fully dependent on Angat Dam),” Medina said.

The LLDA official, however, noted that the quality of water in Laguna Lake is only suitable for fishery and Maynilad and Manila Water have to process their supply from the lake at their respective treatment plants.

“Right now, the quality of water in Laguna Lake is Class C.”

“Sa ngayon, ang quality ng tubig sa Laguna Lake ay (Right now, the quality of water in Laguna Lake is) Class C. It is suitable for fishery, pero hindi pwede ipaligo at kung ano pang gawain (but it is not suitable for bathing and other human needs),” he stressed.

Medina said Congress needs to appropriate additional funds for the dredging and rehabilitation of Laguna Lake to improve its water quality to a level that is good enough for human consumption.

At present, the budget for dredging and rehabilitation of the lake is pegged at P400 million a year.

“Kailangan ng dredging para mapalalim at maparami ang volume na kayang i-store ng ating lawa (Dredging is needed to deepen the lake and raise the volume of water that it can store). For the dredging and cleanup, we need more funds to do that,” he said. 

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