Angat water to last El Niño

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An expert believes the prevailing El Nino phenomenon won’t significantly affect availability of water in Angat Dam which supplies some 97 percent of water in Metro Manila.

Max Peralta, a senior hydrologist of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) made such assessment, noting Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan has enough water to meet Metro Manila’s needs until May when the dry season normally ends and the wet season begins.

“Angat’s water level is high so that dam has water sufficient for the next two to three months despite El Nino,” he said this week.

He continues urging people to conserve water, however, so they can help ensure availability of this commodity for all.


Latest available PAGASA data as of 6 a.m. March 20 show Angat’s water level at 198.55 meters.

The data also show such water level is 5.60 meters higher than the 192.95-meter rule curve for the same day.

PAGASA said rule curve is the desired water level to satisfy Angat’s purpose which is to provide water for domestic use, irrigation and power generation.

The National Water Resources Board earlier set daily rule curves to control withdrawal of Angat’s water so this commodity can still be available for supply to Metro Manila, noted PAGASA.

Experts describe the drought-driving El Niño as a condition characterized by unusually warm ocean temperature in the equatorial Pacific.

They also said El Niño is the opposite of La Niña, a condition marked by unusually cold ocean temperature there.

This March, PAGASA announced computer models indicate El Niño is already in progress.

“Consensus among computer models indicate a weak El Niño is likely to manifest in the coming months,” PAGASA clarified, however.

El Niño’s adverse impacts on the Philippines are below-normal rainfall and higher-than-normal temperatures in varying degrees from place to place and time to time, warned PAGASA.

Peralta expects Angat to receive some rainfall after May, saying the precipitation-driving southwest monsoon or ‘habagat’ will prevail by then.

“That means there’ll still be some rain despite El Niño,” he said.
He said PAGASA’s forecast that El Niño will prevail only until mid-2015 raises optimism for rainfall in Angat.

In its advisory, PAGASA said El Niño will likely last until middle of the year.

PAGASA noted other computer models indicate further strengthening of El Niño towards end of the year, however.

PAGASA previously pointed out El Niño episodes can alterl andfalling patterns of tropical cyclones (TCs) entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).

“There’s less chance for TCs to make landfall in the country during El Niño,” PAGASA weather forecaster Fernando Cada said earlier.

He said lower-than-average number of landfalls can be expected in the Philippines during El Nino as TCs then tend to head northwards, where sea temperature is warmer, instead of crossing the country which these generally do under normal conditions.

Lesser landfalls mean the Philippine landmass won’t generally experience as much rain as it would during a non-El Niño year, he added.

PNA

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