The Department of the Interior and Local Government on Tuesday warned of possible shortage of drinking water amid a looming protracted El Niño phenomenon, thus urged the public in general to be circumspect in the daily use of tap water.
Interior director Allan Tabell cited in particular establishments which are heavily dependent on water such as the “water world type” theme parks, swimming pools, and car wash.
“Definitely, kung may projected na kakulangan sa ulan and water supply in the next few months, baka pati iyong tubig na kailangan for human consumption ay magkukulang,” Tabell said in a public briefing.
“It is necessary that at this point when water supply for human consumption is expected to go down, we have to encourage our people to be prudent in using water, Tabell said.
He enjoined the people to avoid being wasteful in water consumption.
“Puwede naman sigurong timba at pamunas lang, I mean, there are many practical measures na puwedeng gawin sa mga negosyo or industries na water intensive na puwede namang actually
ma-reduce iyong waste o iyong kailangang i-conserve iyong paggamit ng tubig,” he said.
The DILG was planning to conduct a vigorous information drive on the practical use of water, he said.
“In the end kapag hindi sila handa ay maaari silang maapektuhan kung hindi man sila agricultural, definitely iyong kanilang water consumption na iniinom na tubig o iyong tubig na kailangan nilang gamitin sa household ay baka maapektuhan kung mag-aaksaya sila ng paggamit ng tubig.”
The National Water Resources Board early on said it would prioritize allocating water supply in Angat Dam for domestic use once its levels hit 180 meters.
State weather bureau PAGASA last week issued an El Niño alert, saying the weather phenomenon characterized by below-normal rainfall might start hitting the country as early as June.
Meanwhile, the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) said some government agencies were ready to help farmers who might be adversely affected by El Niño..
NIA acting administrator Eduardo Guillen said the Department of Social Welfare Department (DSWD) prepared cash-for-work programs for the farmers.
“Worst comes to worst, at talagang may area na maapektuhan, naka-ready naman ang DSWD para tumulong sa atin, sa kanilang ayuda, sa kanilang cash-for-work program,” Guillen said.
“Ganon din ang Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) sa kanilang TUPAD program para mabigyan ng (additional income) ang ating farmers,” he added.
For its part, the NIA has an alternate wetting and drying technique to increase by 20 percent the water allocation for irrigation and boost the harvest of farmers during the dry season, Guillen said.
By June, the NIA expect allocation for irrigation to return to normal, after this was cut to 10 cubic meters per second this May ahead of the harvest season.
“Ayon din sa forecast ng PAGASA, June puwede naman mag-start na kami ng delivery… again may in place kami na systems para maka-increase, makatipid kami ng tubig,” Guillen said.
PAGASA has said the El Niño had an 80 percent chance of occurring between June and August, and could last until the first quarter of 2024.