MILLIONS hit in Manila's ''worst ever'' water shortage...............

Manila has been hit by its worst water shortage in years, leaving bucket-bearing families to wait hours to fill up from tanker trucks and some hospitals to turn away less urgent cases.

Taps are dry from four to 20 hours per day in the homes of about half of the Philippines capital roughly 12 million people due to rolling outages driven by a dearth of rain and inadequate infrastructure.

''I have learned to have a bath using only 7 pitchers of water,'' Ricardio Bergado told AFP as he lined up with his buckets. ''I even save the bath water to flush our toilet.''

The shortages started hitting late last week, with some areas in eastern Manila seeing the supplies of water into their homes being completely cut off.

However, Manila Water Company, one of the capital's two suppliers, said it will now use rolling cut offs spread across the city to share  the pain more evenly.

Jerry cans and buckets were flying off store shelves and landing in lines where families were spending hours waiting for deliveries by truck.

''Instead of doing important things, our time is consumed now by making sure we have enough water,'' Bergado, a 57-year old audio-technician told AFP.

At least five public hospitals in the capital have started getting supplemental supplies from water tankers, as shortages had led at least one to limit admissions.

''This is the worst [water shortage] we have experienced. It almost happened last year but we were saved by heavy rains brought by storms,'' Dittie Galang, Manila Water communication manager, told AFP.


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