Water outlook for PH brightens
Raw water supply prospects for the country are rosier as international climate watchers observe a “La Niña-like” situation that might increase rainfall in Indonesia and the Philippines.
According to the United Nations-administered Agricultural Market Information System (Amis), atmospheric conditions along equatorial Pacific Ocean “has cooled substantially,” but there is no full-blown La Niña.
The climate phenomenon brings very dry conditions to the eastern Pacific—the west coast of the Americas —but very wet conditions in the west, including the area around the Philippines.
“(T)he world can experience La Niña-like precipitation anomalies, even in the absence of a well-developed La Niña,” Amis said in its latest monthly report.
“A La Niña-like tropical Pacific precipitation pattern is currently predicted with enhanced rainfall over Indonesia and the Philippines,” the agency added.
The Climate Prediction Center in the United States, under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said in its latest bulletin that the consensus forecast “leans toward La Niña, along with ocean conditions that are somewhat favorable for the development of La Niña.”
“However, enough uncertainty remains that the chance of La Niña remains lower than 50 percent and it is unclear whether oceanic and atmospheric anomalies will lock in and persist,” the US agency said.
Such outlook actually happening would give Metro Manila and nearby provinces a definitive reprieve from lingering supply uncertainties carried over from a crisis last year that prompted Manila Water Co. Inc. and Maynilad Water Services Inc. to implement rotating service interruptions through their concession areas.
Implementation of these supply management schemes, characterized by weak water pressure or no water at all, were in effect until these were superseded by the enhanced community quarantine last March.
Since the middle of May, the National Water Resources Board has raised the allocation of raw water from Angat Dam to the concessionaires of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System to the maximum flow rate of 48 cubic meters per second. This was meant to address the need for sanitation practices, especially during quarantine when people are forced to stay in their homes.
Over the past two months, the water level at Angat has been fluctuating—thanks to the onset of rains—around nine meters over the dam’s minimum operating level of 180 meters above sea level. INQ
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