PAGASA tells public to brace for drought, save water
BAGUIO CITY – The public is advised to conserve water since the dry spell already affecting several provinces of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) is expected to last until April.
Larry Esperanza, chief meteorologist of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA)-Baguio synoptic station, in a report to the region’s El Niño Task Force said Abra, Ifugao, and Mountain Province are already in a dry spell situation while Benguet, Kalinga and Apayao are expected to experience drought later this month.
A dry spell situation is characterized by below-normal rainfall conditions for three consecutive months while drought is characterized by a rainfall condition below normal for five consecutive months or the reduction in the rainfall is about 41 to 80 percent compared to the normal rainfall data of a particular month.
“We will have better condition by May because southwest monsoon will start and tropical cyclones bringing rains will already be experienced,” Esperanza said in an interview Friday.
Esperanza noted that while parts of the region are in a drought condition, the high elevation of the region adds to the effects of the northeast monsoon, which gives a colder temperature in several towns and provinces.
“Swerte tayo sa CAR because (of) high altitude and may effect ang northeast monsoon. Medyo hindi tayo masyadong affected compared to the lowland (We are luckier in CAR because of high altitude and the northeast monsoon. We are less affected compared to the lowland (or the low-lying areas),” he said.
Baguio City recorded the lowest temperature of 14.6 degrees Celsius around 5 a.m. on Jan. 11.
Because of the dry spell, the El Niño Task Force has advised the public as well as the farmers to conserve and reuse water.
“I think they have advised farmers to follow the crop cycle and grow plants that do not require so much water. As long as they follow the crop cycle, they will not have so much problem of not having sufficient water for their plants,” Esperanza said in Filipino.
He said the task force has also suggested several measures to address the situation and these include the installation of rainwater harvester.
With power also expected to be affected, the task force also suggested the use of solar-powered gadgets to minimize the use of energy, with hydropower plants as sources.
El Niño online platform
The Office of Civil Defense (OCD), meanwhile, said key members of the Task Force El Niño and other concerned government agencies convened on Thursday to help develop the Improved National El Niño Online Platform (ENOP).
These agencies include the Departments of Agriculture; of Environment and Natural Resources; of Energy; of Health (DOH); and of the Interior and Local Government.
In a social media post, the OCD said the participants discussed the identification of available data sets from key sectors, prioritization of ENOP features per key sector, ENOP accessibility for decision-making and public use and the capability assessment of key sectors for API implementation.
The OCD said government agencies that are part of the El Niño Team are now working to integrate efforts to mitigate the impact of the weather phenomenon. (with Priam Nepomuceno/PNA)