Press Release
July 2, 2015


Sen. Chiz Escudero wants the government to actively pursue investments that will improve the water infrastructure in the country to cushion the effects of the dry spell.

At the same time, Escudero called on the public to do their share in conserving water as the level in Angat Dam, which supplies 97 percent of Metro Manila's domestic water needs, continued to drop despite the onset of the rainy season.

"We all need to do our part to conserve water. Doing everything we can to save water today will go a long way toward helping our water supply situation while we move ahead with the necessary long-term fixes," he said.

Since Angat Dam reached the 180-meter critical level for irrigation supply last May, the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) has stopped water releases for Bulacan and Pampanga farmers' irrigation needs.

But Metro Manila will continue to draw water from the Angat reservoir unless the water level further falls to 160 meters when water release will be limited.

As a precautionary measure, the NWRB cut down the water allocation to 41 cubic meters per second (cms) from 43 cms to water concessionaries Maynilad and Manila Water beginning July 1.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) earlier projected the country could experience the full impact of the El Niño episode in the last quarter of 2015. This means that more provinces, including Bulacan where Angat Dam is located, will experience "way below normal" amount of rainfall.

Escudero, thus, urged the government to immediately draw up a contingency plan for the agriculture sector, noting that "early planning may avoid a costly importation program and allow a studious review of spending activities for agriculture."

"El Niño means adverse conditions for our agriculture sector. The government needs to come up with a contingency plan that will assure our farmers of minimal impact on their livelihood and at the same time ensure that food supply will not be disrupted too much," he said.

Escudero said the government should consider realigning its economic pump-priming program to the agriculture sector to address the effects of the dry spell.

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