By Ellalyn de Vera Ruiz
The water level at Angat Dam once again plunged below its 160-meter critical mark on Thursday, due to deficiency of rainfall over the watershed area in Norzagaray, Bulacan.
Based on the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration’s (PAGASA) monitoring as of Thursday morning, Angat Dam’s water level has declined past its critical level at 159.93 meters, lower than last Wednesday’s 160.30 meters.
It first reached the critical level last June 22 before slightly recovering due to sporadic monsoon rains over the Angat watershed.
But a weak southwest monsoon or “habagat” has prevailed, causing the absence of significant rainfall over most parts of the country in the past few days.
National Water Resources Board (NWRB) Executive Director Sevillo David Jr. said the Angat Dam’s water level of 159.93 meters is now again below the critical level for water supply of 160 meters.
He pointed out that the dam’s low level outlet is being utilized to sustain the current water allocation of 36 cubic meters per second or around 3.1 billion liters per day.
NWRB said the water allocation will be adjusted accordingly until such time that the Angat Dam’s level is sufficient enough to supply the regular demand of consumers in Metro Manila and nearby areas.
As of the moment, Angat Dam’s current level is still way below its minimum operating level of 180 meters, and normal high water level during the rainy season of 210 meters.
“Based on the PAGASA’s projections, the prevailing weak habagat resulted in the absence of significant rainfall in the Angat Dam/Angat watershed,” David said.
Monsoon rains expected
“It is also projected that the monsoon rains might be back next week. We hope the monsoon rains could come sooner as well as the projected tropical cyclones in July to help in the early recovery of Angat Dam,” he added.
According to PAGASA weather specialist Ariel Rojas, an intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) will affect most of Mindanao, while the weak habagat will prevail over the rest of the country until the weekend.
The ITCZ, a breeding ground for potential low pressure area or tropical cyclone, will bring cloudy skies with scattered rain showers and thunderstorms over Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, and Davao Occidental.
Isolated rain showers
Meanwhile, Metro Manila and the rest of the country will have isolated rain showers from localized thunderstorms.
Rojas warned that sudden rains due to severe thunderstorm activity, which may occur in the afternoon or evening, may cause flash floods or landslides in low-lying or mountainous areas.
Rains due to the ITCZ will likely affect some parts of Visayas over the weekend, he added.
David appealed to the public to take advantage of the rain showers occurring in the afternoon or evening, by collecting and recycling water.
NWRB noted that if the 15 million Filipinos in Metro Manila conserve at least four liters of water every day, we can conserve about 60 million liters of water in a day – equivalent to 24 Olympic-sized swimming pools.