The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) called on the public to conserve water as it warned that the country’s major dams will recede because of El Niño.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said the weather phenomenon may also trigger forest fires.
“Mild this El Niño may be compared to the past, but its impact will be no less significant for everyone,” he said.
“It is urgent that we continue conserving water not only to ensure continued water supply for our own domestic use, but as a way of helping out much affected sectors like agriculture, aquaculture, energy and the environment, which in turn may affect us,” he pointed out.
Paje urged the public to use recycled laundry water “for gardening, flushing the toilet and washing your car and floor.”
He warned that a prolonged dry spell increases the risk of forest fires, thus he asked upland residents and trekkers to exercise extreme caution when performing activities that may lead to fires.
Paje proposed that communities and the management boards of protected areas adopt ordinances or policies against smoking, open burning and bringing of flammable materials in forested areas.
The El Niño phenomenon is an abnormal weather pattern caused by the warming of the Pacific Ocean, affecting global climate and causing unusual droughts and floods. It occurs every two to seven years. The country’s last episode was in 2009 to mid-2010.