National News

PH Braces for El Niño

El Niño

PH Braces for El Niño: An article by the Philippine News Agency (PNA) shares that the local government recently convened with representatives of water utilities to discuss measures in preparing for drought, expected to happen this month of June.

Local Response

According to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, the drought is expected to reduce the water supply of over 20 barangays in the metro. He added that the Metro Pacific Iloilo Water (MPIW) is finalizing the restoration of deep wells that will supply an additional five million liters per day (MLD) next month (June).

Meanwhile, South Balibago Waterworks also committed to the restoration of its water supply soon.

The former (MPIW) supplies an estimated 40,000 households while South Balibago services almost 6,000 consumers in Jaro.

The local government has also committed to procuring a tanker as well as utilizing gray water or domestic wastewater sourced from a cistem in Lapaz and wastewater treatment plants from establishments to water plants. (Source: Philippine News Agency)

Provincial Response

The Iloilo provincial government also exerts efforts to prepare for the upcoming dry season. On its website, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor shares that the provincial government has existing programs in place to mitigate the effects of the dry season. These include the water system projects under its Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (RWSSP), as well as small irrigation projects to augment that of the National Irrigation Administration. (Source: Province of Iloilo)

National Response

The national government also constituted a team – the El Niño Task Force via Executive Order (EO) 16 s.2001. The team is headed by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and is composed of the following agencies:

Department of Agriculture, Department of National Defense, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Health, Department of Education, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Philippine Information Agency, and National Commission for Indigenous People.

The team is tasked to formulate a disaster preparedness and rehabilitation plan and monitor its implementation. They will also enhance the Expanded Roadmap for Addressing the Impact of El Niño (E-RAIN) centered on the following areas of concern: food security, water security, energy security, health, and public safety. (Source: Philippine Information Agency)

What is El Niño

El Niño is a climate pattern that described the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Climate.Gov defines its as the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern.

As of May 14 (2023), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) recorded areas that have experienced ‘danger’ heat index – between 42 and 47 degrees Celsius.

“PAGASA has been continuously monitoring the developing El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific. Recent conditions and model forecasts indicate that El Niño may emerge in the coming season (June-July-August) at 80% probability and may persist until the first quarter of 2024.” – PAGASA update as of May.

“El Niño increases the likelihood of below-normal rainfall conditions, which could bring 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.” – additional update. View: PAGASA ENSO Alert System Status

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