MANILA -- The government is sending troops into Manila to prevent unrest as authorities distribute water to some of the million plus people who have been affected by an ongoing shortage, officials said Friday.

Many in Manila have been left with limited supplies or no water at all this week after water levels at the Angat Dam, the main source for the capital, fell to a critically low point following a prolonged drought.

Although the situation was improving with the onset of the rainy season, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson told reporters that the government had mobilized trucks and tankers to provide water to the worst hit areas.

He said he asked the country's defense secretary to lend troops to ensure orderly water distribution. The local media said in some cases people muscled into long lines at water pumps or scrambled to get to water tanks.

"We will just be involved in security, probably to see to it that people in the area will not push each other," said military spokesman Brigadier General Jose Mabanta.

About 2,000 soldiers will be deployed, he said.

Activists have blamed the government for the recurring water problem, complaining that though the water sector was privatized in the 1990s, authorities have not pushed for better services.

"In spite of poor services by these water concessionaires, the consumers are subjected to ever increasing water rates," said Giovanni Tapang of the activist group Agham.

One concessionaire, Maynilad Water Services Inc., said it was losing more than half of the volume to pipe leaks and pilferage. (AP)