Businesses told: Prepare for El Niño

Businesses told: Prepare for El Niño

ENTERPRISES are advised to take precautionary measures against the incoming El Niño and its adverse impacts, as the weather phenomenon is anticipated to develop over the next few months and persist up to the first quarter of 2024.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has predicted an 80 percent possibility of El Niño season between June and August 2023 and a 41 percent chance of more significant ocean surface warming later in the year.

It warns that El Niño can increase the likelihood of below-normal rainfall conditions, which could have negative impacts such as dry spells and droughts in some areas of the country.

However, over the western part of the country, above-normal rainfall conditions during the southwest monsoon season (habagat) may also be expected, Pagasa said.


El Niño threatens the country’s critical lifeline utilities and livelihood, particularly in the areas of water supply and agriculture, according to experts and resource persons at a recent virtual briefing on El Niño organized by the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF).

As the extreme weather condition looms this year, several measures are already being implemented by different sectors to mitigate its effects, the participants said.

The government, led by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), has revived the El Niño Task Force to address significant areas of concern during drought season.

DILG Director Edgar Allan Tabell said the new task force will use protocol-based and long-term scientific processes and take a whole-of-nation approach involving the private sector, non-government and civil society organizations, academe, and other stakeholders.

More recently, the government also created the Water Resources Management Office (WRMO) under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

DENR Undersecretary Carlos Primo David explained that WRMO is mandated to solve conflicts among government water agencies.

“For Metro Manila, we wanted to jumpstart a water conservation program. The issue with a water supply can also be solved by water demand. If we are able to decrease water demand, then it softens the blow of not having enough supply later on,” David added.

To prepare for El Niño, he added that DENR is working with the private sector and water districts in fixing pipe leaks that result in water wastage and bill increases.

The private sector has also put measures in place to ensure uninterrupted water supply and 24/7 services.

For its part, the PDRF encouraged businesses to prepare for El Niño by managing water efficiently, coordinating with the government and business partners, planning ahead of time, and educating families, employees and suppliers about El Niño and its impacts.

“Metro Manila has grown tremendously over the years, and yet its sources of water have not changed a great deal. So, any significant variation in the weather or any failure of equipment can lead to widespread interruptions,” said Butch Meily, president of PDRF. / PHILEXPORT


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