THE first weather disturbance to enter the country will not bring much-needed rains to parched farmlands and dams, the state weather bureau said on Wednesday.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) Director Prisco Nilo said “Agaton” will not bring enough water for the drying up dams in the country.

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He said a dam needs about 600 to 700 millimeters of rainfall for it to be sustainable. A typical storm brings only 300 to 400 millimeters of rain.

Based on its 5 p.m. bulletin Wednesday, the tropical depression was spotted at 970 kilometers east of Catarman in Northern Samar with maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour (kph). It is moving west northwest at a speed of 15 kph.

Nilo, however, said the weather disturbance is not expected to make a landfall due the El Niño phenomenon and the ridge of high pressure area in Luzon.

“No public signals were raised as well because it is too far to affect any part of the country,” he added.

But the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) issued an advisory Wednesday morning directing local leaders and the media to warn the public about the coming storm.

“This local effort will complement and reinforce efforts at the national level. Emphasis should be on pro-active actions—evacuation rather than rescue,” the NDCC said.

According to Pagasa, the weather disturbance is expected to bring partly cloudy to at times cloudy with isolated rain showers and thunderstorms in Eastern Visayas, which includes the provinces of Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Samar, Samar, and Southern Leyte.

Isolated rain showers will also be experienced in typhoon-prone Bicol Region while the rest of the country will have partly cloudy skies with isolated rain showers or thunderstorms, it added.

Agaton is expected to be 730 kilometers northeast of Catarman, Northern Samar on Thursday, and is expected to be 800 kilometers northeast of Aparri, Cagayan province by Saturday morning.

Campaign to conserve water

The El Niño phenomenon being experienced by the country has dried up the dams. This also caused a nationwide alert against drought.

In Luzon, Quezon City will start implement a house-to-house campaign to urge resident to conserve water.

Quezon City Mayor Sonny Belmonte has directed 142 barangays to take part in the information dissemination for water conservation.

Frederika Rentoy, head of the Quezon City Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department, said that each individual has no choice but to cooperate with the campaign, especially with the dwindling water level in Angat dam.

In Visayas, El Niño damage in Bacolod, Negros Occidental has reached P50.7 million.

Based on the records released by the Provincial Agricultures Office, farmlands affected by the drought have reached 3,637 hectares.

Most affected is San Carlos, which has incurred P9 million worth of damages.

Earlier, the municipality of the Sta. Catalina in Negros Oriental was placed under state of calamity due to the harsh effects of El Niño.

In Mindanao, the Department of National Defense is already inching out an agreement giving Mindanao a five-day moratorium to make sure that there will be no power interruption during the first ever automated elections in May.

Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales said in a radio interview that they have already consulted with National Power Corporation (Napocor) to ensure that energy supply will be continuous in the region.

Mindanao has been experiencing rotating brownouts ranging from three to 11 hours due to lack of energy supply because of the dry spell.

The Pagasa said that El Niño is projected to last until June. (Virgil Lopez/Angela Casauay/Sunnex)