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Task force to public: Continue water conservation

MANILA, Philippines — As the water level in major dams can drop further during the dry months, the Task Force El Niño is urging the public to continue conserving water to avert a possible water crisis, especially in Metro Manila.

Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Joey Villarama, spokesperson for the task force, said that historically, water level in dams such as Angat in Bulacan decreases by 30 centimeters per day during summer.

Angat is Metro Manila’s main source of potable water.

“Because El Niño coincided with the summer season, there is a possibility that the water level in Angat Dam will drop,” Villarama said, adding they do not project Angat to reach critical level of 180 meters.

“Because our weather continues to get warmer, household consumption is increasing we have to factor it in as well as the evaporation and lack of rainfall. There is a possibility that it will decrease,” he said, referring to Angat’s water level.

Aside from the use of pail and dipper for bathing and reuse of water for cleaning, Villarama discouraged the use of inflatable pools.

He assured the public that contingency measures are in place to avoid water interruptions.

Villarama said the weather bureau has forecast rain by next week, which could improve Angat’s water level.

“We’re hoping that even with this little rain, the water level in Angat Dam will be filled somehow and will not reach the critical level,” he said.

The cities of Cebu and Zamboanga have declared a water crisis due to the effects of El Niño.

Villarama said the government could provide static water tanks in areas experiencing water shortage.

On Monday, he said the number of El Niño-affected provinces may climb to 80 by the end of the month.

As of March 25, El Niño’s damage to the agricultural sector has reached P1.75 billion, he said.

Water allocation for Metro Manila may be increased to 50 cubic meters per second (cms) starting middle of this month if the water level in Angat Dam in Bulacan stabilizes, according to the National Water Resources Board (NWRB).

Susan Abaño, NWRB policy and program division chief, said the water regulatory body may modify the 48 cms approved allocation of the