‘Save water vs. El Niño’ – water officials tells Metro residents

Angat Dam, one of Metro Manila's main water source, is expected to reach the 210 meter water level by the end of September so that there will be enough water for metro consumers amid threats of the El Niño. (MWSS photo)
Angat Dam, one of Metro Manila’s main water source, is expected to reach the 210 meter water level by the end of September so that there will be enough water for metro consumers amid threats of the El Niño. (MWSS photo)

The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) on Monday morning literally sounded alarm bells for Metro Manila residents on a possible water shortage should the El Niño Phenomenon worsens.

NWRB executive director Dr. Sevillo David said this in an interview with DZRH News through “Damdaming Bayan” hosted by Dr. Joe Taruc and Milky Rigonan. David also said water allocation for Maynilad and Manila Water may be reduced if the water level in Angat dam, Bulacan does not reach 210 meters by end of September.

In case of reduction, David said it may go down to 35-36 cubic meters per second in October. He said there is a need to regulate and limit the release so that the water in Angat can last up to summer next year.

Early Monday morning, residents of Novaliches, Quezon City have already experienced low water pressure from their faucets.

Meanwhie, the NWRB said the allocation may even dip to 34 cubic meters per second, which means that more areas will be feel the impact of the water interruption.

“We need to manage the water level in Angat Dam so we can sustain adequate water for the public until this El Niño phenomenon ends next year,” stated David.

He said other contingency measures are being readied by the Government and the private sector to mitigate the adverse impacts of the sea surface warming in the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific region.

The reduced water allocation may result to eventual water pressure reduction, scheduling and interruption to consumers. NWRB assured the public that ample time will be provided every day to store sufficient water in their households and that information will be given before the concessionaires proceed with any mitigating measure.

David said NWRB is encouraging the public is also encouraged to take advantage of the rainy season and save water through rainwater harvesting and storage.

A drum or two of untreated water can be used for various purposes such as car washing, toilet flushing and watering of plants. But everyone is also reminded to properly store harvested rainwater to avoid contamination and diseases.

Meanwhile in the agricultural sector, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) continues to inform the farmers of the contingency measures to be adopted during El Niño such as: modified cropping calendar and pattern; planting of short gestating rice varieties; maximizing the utilization of effective rainfall; provision of water pumps; strict implementation of water management.

Physical contingency methods include concrete lining of irrigation canals, re-use structures to collect drainage discharge, cap/regulate water withdrawals, ascertain episode impact and replant irrigation watersheds.

According to the latest climate outlook of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in August 28, Senior Weather Specialist Anthony Lucero confirmed the nearing onset of a stronger El Niño in the last quarter of this year up to the second quarter of 2016.

Lucero, in a separate interview with DZRH, also warned the public that this phenomenon could be stronger than what the country experienced in 1997 to 1998. (Joel C. Atencio)

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