Dried up La Mesa dam in Quezon City is pictured in this March 9, 2019 photo.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
El Niño a climate change issue, not just water supply concern
(Philstar.com) - March 22, 2019 - 6:14pm

MANILA, Philippines — The ongoing weak El Niño affecting the country must be treated not only as a water supply issue but also as a climate change concern, Sen. Loren Legarda said.  

Legarda, vice chairperson of Senate committee on environmental and natural resources, stressed this point Friday during the observance of World Water Day.

As parts of Metro Manila and Rizal grapple with shortage of water supply, authorities should take measures to adapt to climate change impacts which could further intensify the effects of El Niño and jeopardize the long-term water supply in the country, the lawmaker said.

“We must treat this issue as a climate change concern and not just a water supply issue. The El Niño phenomenon is a natural process, but its varying effects are compounded by climate change,” Legarda said.

El Niño, a phenomenon associated to above-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, is expected to persist until June.

Warmer temperatures, below normal rainfall conditions, delayed onset of rainy season and fewer tropical cyclones are expected.

“The La Mesa Dam breaching critical level, the lowest in years, and the dry climate outlook for most of our provinces in light of weak El Niño and climate change should serve as a reminder for all of us to use our water resources more sustainably, also as a means to protect public health, food, security and ecosystems,” Legarda said.

PAGASA on Friday officially announced the termination of northeast monsoon (amihan) and the start of the dry season. The development means that day-to-day weather across the country will gradually become warmer although isolated thunderstorms are also likely to occur.

The agricultural damage caused by a weak El Niño went up further to P1.33 billion as of March 19, data from the Disaster Risk Reduction Operations Center of the Department of Agriculture showed. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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