The first cyclone

THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez - The Freeman

Metro Manila and some parts of the country recently received a welcome respite from the sweltering heat of the past month or so. The first tropical cyclone of the year made its way through most of Eastern Luzon, bringing in much-needed rain and getting rid of the high-pressure areas that caused the heat. Metro Manila experienced comfortable weather albeit for just a few days coupled with rain. However, I would have preferred a much stronger and sustained downpour, at least in the Angat Dam area. As soon as the typhoon was out of the country, the sun made its presence felt. But Typhoon Aghon did cause damage and even deaths. Five are confirmed dead while some provinces in the cyclone’s path experienced flooding brought by continuous rains. If only it rained that much over Angat Dam instead of low-lying areas in the Bicol Region and Quezon Province.

As of this writing, the level at Angat Dam is 178.8 meters, well below the normal high-water level of 210 meters. If the rains do not start coming soon, Metro Manila may start to experience water rationing as well as brownouts since Angat is also a hydroelectric dam. It also irrigates farmland downstream. The rains brought by Typhoon Aghon did not change the dam’s current water level. I can just imagine the plight of farmers these past months.

The controversial Kaliwa Dam of the MWSS’s New Centennial Water Source project, greenlit by President Duterte back in November 2018 is a ?12.2-billion Export-Import Bank of China-funded project. It is supposed to ease the demand on Angat Dam. It is 30% completed and is supposedly on track for completion by 2027. It is controversial because of the claimed detrimental environmental impact as well as the opposition from indigenous tribes in the area. But if it is already 30% complete, I guess compromises have been made all around. I recall the stiff opposition from environmental groups and indigenous tribes when the project was announced.

With the first storm to hit the country, I hope the rainy season follows suit soon. We badly need the rain. Experiencing much cooler weather is also a bonus. But really, this year’s dry season is exceptionally hot. The shade offers very little comfort. Even the air from electric fans is hot. Some air conditioners are no match for the astronomical heat indices from day to day. And we are not alone in experiencing extreme weather. Heat waves are also occurring in many countries, while some countries experience flooding due to torrential rains. If there is a good case for climate change, perhaps this year would serve as proof.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with