The water intake platform becomes visible as the water level at Angat Dam breaches the 180 masl (meters above sea level) critical level on Friday. The water level in Angat dam, which provides 97% percent of Metro Manila’s water supply, continues to drop due to intense heat. Photo by Gigie Cruz-Sy for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA – Water level at the Angat Dam reached a near-critical low of 180.38 meters on Saturday afternoon, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).
PAGASA said the water level may reach the critical level of 180 meters on Sunday or Monday morning if rains don’t come.
“Kung umabot ng critical elevation, lahat ng tubig ay direktang pupunta na lang sa Ipo Dam na siyang nagsusuplay ng tubig sa La Mesa Dam,” Richard Orendain, hydrologist of the PAGASA, said.
When the dam reaches the 180-meter critical level, supply will stop at the Bustos Dam, which in turn supplies irrigation water for Bulacan farms.
“Ito lang po ang inaasahan namin sa hirap ng buhay talagang nahihirapan kami,” Renita Hermina, a farmer from Bulacan, said.
Other farmers have opted to look for other means of livelihood while water supply from the dam is scarce.
Rogelio Pahal, a farmer, now sells ice buko; another farmer, Mang Alfredo, sells gasoline by the bottle.
“Ito'y extrang kita para mabuhay rin kami katulad niyan wala naman magagapas,” Pahal said.
Pagasa said water level at the dam is expected to go up by June or July when the rainy season starts.
“Kahit marami pa tayong tubig, kailangan pa rin nating tipirin kasi para ito just in case madelay ang rainy season at least meron pa rin tayong inaasahang tubig,” Orendain said.
EL NINO THREATENS ISABELA
Meantime, officials of the Isabela Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) met with Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas on Saturday to implement measures against the looming El Nino phenomenon.
Isabela, the country’s top corn producer and second top rice producer, was hit hard by El Nino in 2010.
During the meeting, Roxas suggested the construction of a dike where water can be stored during the rainy season, which will supply water for irrigation during the summer months.
The Magat Dam in Isabela also holds the record for lowest water level at 140 meters in 2010 – its lowest in nearly two decades. The province was also declared under a state of calamity during that time. - From a report by Dominic Almelor and Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News