• Pagasa confident there will be no water crisis despite El Niño

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    As the water elevation at Angat dam further dipped to 179.29 meters, the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) remained optimistic that there will be no water crisis despite the El Niño phenomenon this year.

    “The country has an average of 20 typhoons a year but with the El Niño phenomenon there will be [fewer]cyclones but with heavier rainfall,’’ state hydrologist Elmer Caringal said.

    He added that the peak of the El Niño is in the last quarter of the year, so that no rains are expected during that period.

    Caringal explained that the El Niño causes more evaporation that will result in heavier rainfall.

    He said the water elevation at Angat dam will continue to plummet in the summer months but not to a point where the entire dam will dry up.

    Allaying public fears of an extreme water crisis, Caringal pointed to the Umiray River that flows into the dam.

    Caringal explained that the dam serves domestic consumers first, with power generation and irrigation a secondary priority.

    “A 180-meter Angat dam water elevation is called low-water level, while anything less than that is known as below low-water level,’’ he said.

    Caringal observed that the use of the phrase “critical level’’ to describe the dam’s water elevation has sowed public fear.

    He said the usual start of the rainy season in the last week of May or the first week of June would still bring rains despite the El Niño.

    The water elevation at Angat dam dipped to 179.29 meters, which is .18 meters lower than the 179.47 meters measured last Tuesday.

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