By Ma. Cristina Arayata

Angat Dam (File photo)

MANILA – Because of the reduced rainfall as a result of El Niño, the decreasing water level in Angat Dam is seen to continue, a forecaster said Thursday.

“For the past 24 hours, we have recorded a very minimal decline in Angat Dam’s water level. But, we expect the water level in Angat Dam and other water reservoirs to further reduce in the next days or weeks because of minimal rainfall in parts of the country, including Central Luzon,” Chris Perez, Assistant Weather Services Chief of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said in a televised briefing.

The decrease in water level is likely to continue unless the country experiences a strong tropical cyclone, he added.

Perez said that El Niño is a major factor, but even without this phenomenon, the country usually experiences few tropical cyclones in the first half of every year.

Thus, other areas with water reservoirs could have a decreasing water level, he said.

Angat Dam supplies 98 percent of the potable water in Metro Manila through the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System.

On Wednesday, PAGASA recorded a 0.14 meter decline in Angat Dam’s water level, while a 0.13 meter drop was reported on Tuesday.

Perez said PAGASA is calling on government agencies and stakeholders to prepare and implement programs that could help in fully utilizing the remaining water resources.

Parts of the country, he said, could experience dry spells and lesser rainfall, possibly until the second quarter.

The strong effects of El Niño are likely in the western sections of Luzon and the Visayas, where below-normal rainfall is forecast.

“In some cases, way below normal is possible,” Perez added.

The normal climate condition is likely during the latter part of the second quarter, he said.

Perez warned the effects of El Niño could be felt gradually. “Don’t expect to immediately see the effects when we say El Niño has ended,” Perez said.

“That doesn’t mean it would rain right after the month of May, for example. Don’t be caught off guard, especially those sectors who are highly dependent on water supply,” he continued. (PNA)