Angat water level continues to drop at onset of El Niño

by Jul 6, 2023Featured Article, News

MANILA, Philippines — Despite heavy rains over the past few days, the water level at Angat Dam is slowly dropping to its minimum operating level, raising concerns over supply, especially with the onset of the El Niño phenomenon.

An official of the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) said the water level at the dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan, was 181.22 meters on Wednesday.

It has been inching closer to the 180-meter minimum operating level because the recent rainfall did not reach the watershed, according to NWRB executive director Sevillo David Jr.

“Once the water level is lower than 180 meters, the priority will be to ensure there is enough water supply in Metro Manila, rather than for other uses like irrigation and power generation,” David said during a briefing on Wednesday.

The last time the Angat water level breached the critical level of 160 meters was in June 2019.

The NWRB drew attention to the situation at Angat a day after the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) issued on Tuesday its first El Niño advisory in recent years, warning that the dry spells brought on by the phenomenon may last until early next year.

That same day, the World Meteorological Organization said the El Niño weather pattern emerged in the tropical Pacific for the first time in seven years.

Water coming from Angat — estimated at 4,000 million liters per day — flows to the La Mesa and Ipo dams to help deliver supply to Metro Manila and nearby provinces through water concessionaires Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Co. Inc.