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PAGASA calls on public to conserve water amid drought in Calabarzon

CALAMBA CITY, Laguna (PIA) – The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has called on the public to conserve water.

This appeal follows PAGASA’s declaration of drought affecting various provinces in the country including the Calabarzon region and echoes the directive of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for Task Force El Niño to roll out measures to mitigate the adverse impact of the weather phenomenon.

As of January 2024, Cavite is experiencing drought, Rizal is under a dry spell, and Batangas and Laguna are under dry conditions with sustained effects until May.

“We always advise the public to conserve water because our challenges may persist until May of 2024. Follow all precautionary measures including staying hydrated. For our farmers, consider stocking up seedlings or any necessary augmentation for your crops due to shortage in rainfall,” Bernadette T. Lucillo, chief meteorological officer of the National Agrometeorological Station, said in an interview with the Philippine Information Agency's Sulong Calabarzon program.

Bernadette T. Lucillo, chief meteorological officer of the National Agrometeorological Station urged the public to conserve water amid the El Niño phenomenon.

Lucillo explained that a dry condition is declared after experiencing two consecutive months of below-normal rainfall, while a dry spell is declared with three consecutive months of below-normal rainfall, both indicating a 21-60 percent reduction from average rainfall.

However, a severe state is classified as drought when there is a consistent experience of way below normal rainfall for three consecutive months, indicating a substantial 60 percent reduction from average rainfall.

Because of this, PAGASA highly encourages the public to cooperate and evaluate their use of water and make plans to cut its unnecessary use.

The state weather bureau actively coordinates with various concerned agencies to help them strategize their interagency efforts in minimizing the impacts of El Niño, particularly in the agricultural sector, which is identified as the most vulnerable sector.

She added: “Coordination begins six months prior, involving agencies such as the Department of Agriculture (DA), National Irrigation Administration (NIA) Office of the Civil Defense (OCD), and the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC). They conduct meetings and form task forces or technical working groups to receive advice from PAGASA and determine adaptive measures”.

Based on the recent data presented by the National Irrigation Administration Region IV-A in January 2024 in a meeting with DA, there are a total of 3,222 hectares of vulnerable agricultural lands identified to be affected by the El Niño phenomenon regionwide.

NIA IV-A Regional Manager engineer Roberto Dela Cruz, in response, affirmed NIA’s commitment to fully support DA Calabarzon’s agricultural programs to mitigate the effects of El Niño on the region’s agricultural sector.

As a support, PAGASA remains open to provide timely and updated advisories to notify frontline agencies and also give Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials to further raise public awareness regarding the potential adverse effects of El Niño.  (CO/PIA-4A)

Sulong Calabarzon is a weekly public affairs program hosted by the Philippine Information Agency Calabarzon, streaming live every Thursday, 2:00 PM via the Philippine Information Agency Calabarzon Facebook page.

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