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Philippines bracing for El Niño

Following the end of La Niña or increased rainfall due to lower-than-normal air pressure over the western Pacific, the Philippines is now bracing for the possible El Niño phenomenon which PAGASA expects to start in June, Mark Salazar reported on “24 Oras” on Wednesday.

The El Niño phenomenon is characterized by the abnormal warming of sea surface temperature in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean and below normal rainfall.

The state agencies such as the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS), PAGASA, and the National Power Corporation said they are preparing for the possible impact of the El Niño on the dam water level.

“Ang indication nila ay mag-start ng July pero masasabi nila na konkreto na meron El Niño by that time. Ang occurrence nito kung matuloy ang mild El Niño, this will happen by end of this year or early first quarter of 2024,” said MWSS Deputy Administrator Jose Dorado.

(Their indication is it will start by July but that’s the only time they can confirm it. Should it occur, it will be a mild El Niño and will happen by the end of this year or early first quarter of 2024.)

Dorado said the reservoir water level (RWL) in Angat dam, which supplies 90% of the water requirement in Metro Manila, remains normal at 206.79 meters from the 214 meters recorded in January.

The MWSS chief said the supply is sufficient for the summer season but reminded consumers to always save water.

“Dahil kapag ang isang area ay hindi nagtitipid ng tubig, gamit ng gamit ng excessive use of water, ‘yung ibang area nade-deplete ang supply nila dahil ang pressure ng water napupunta lang doon sa isa,” he said. “Hindi kami nagkukulang sa pagpapaalala sa tao na dapat magtipid ng tubig”.

(If one area is using excessively, other consumers suffer. Their supply will deplete because the pressure will be on the other side. We are always reminding consumers to be mindful of their use.)

On Tuesday evening, state weather bureau PAGASA officially declared the end of the La Niña phenomenon which first hit the country in 2021. The agency said the climate pattern in the country will remain neutral from March to June but expects El Niño to begin thereafter.

Consumers are advised to conserve water whether or not the El Niño phenomenon will occur this year. -- Sundy Locus/BAP, GMA Integrated News