MANILA — The National Water Resources Board (NWRB) on Saturday told the public to begin conserving water and use it correctly amid the looming El Niño, a weather phenomenon characterized by below-normal rainfall that can lead to dry spells and drought.
NWRB Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. said at present, the water level in Angat Dam, which is the major source of water in Metro Manila, is at 196.5 meters or "within operating level."
The dam's minimum operating level, he noted, is at 180 meters.
"Kailangan kahit nasa normal na lebel ang Angat o iyong mga dams po natin mas magandang paghandaan na rin po natin ito kasi ang sabi nga po ng PAGASA baka pumasok ito (El Niño) sa huling parte ng taon," David said in a media forum in Quezon City.
State weather bureau PAGASA, during the same briefing, said their agency may issue an El Niño alert by May. This means that the chances of the phenomenon occurring is very high at around 70 percent.
This was why David said the public should implement conservation practices as early as now to mitigate the dry weather's impact.
"Habang iyong pamahalaan ay nag-i-implement ng mga preparations ‘no, ay ang isa po nating tingnan is papaano makakatulong iyong publiko, kasi ang tinitingnan natin ay ano po ba ang ginagawa natin?" he said.
"Ang ano po natin dito is mas gusto po nating i-advocate iyong tamang paggamit, water conservation po, iyong sinasabi nga natin," he added.
Conserving water, he said, could help energy supply.
"I think nakakabit po iyan, kasi iyong tubig, hindi po natin maihihiwalay sa energy kasi iyong mga hydropower po natin," he said.
"Kung medyo may tubig tayo mapapatakbo natin iyong mga turbina po natin, maa-address din natin iyong pangangailangan natin sa energy."
Climate projections by PAGASA show that El Niño will begin by the third quarter of 2023 or between July and September, and will last until next year.