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La Mesa water level drops to lowest in 21 years

THE water level of the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City continues to drop, and reached its lowest in 21 years yesterday. (Mark Balmores)

THE water level of the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City continues to drop, and reached its lowest in 21 years yesterday. (Mark Balmores)

The water level of the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City further declined and breached its lowest mark in 21 years yesterday, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration.

PAGASA hydrologist Sonia Serrano said the La Mesa Dam water level was down from 68.79 meters the other day to 68.74 meters yesterday, the lowest water level of La Mesa Dam since its previous low 68.75 meters in 1998.

The lack of rainfall over the La Mesa watershed has contributed to the dwindling level of the water reservoir. PAGASA had earlier said that the rainfall received by the country could continue to significantly drop due to a weak El Niño.

The 1997-1998 El Niño which was among the strongest events in history also led to water shortages in most parts of Metro Manila due to the low water elevation of Angat Dam.

As of yesterday, Angat Dam’s water level remains high at 199.63 meters, which is still above its minimum operating level of 180 meters.

PAGASA said the tail-end of cold front will prevail over Northern and Central Luzon.

Batanes, Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Abra, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, Mountain Province, Apayao, and Aurora will have cloudy skies with light rains.

Partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated light rains may affect Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.

Mindanao will experience partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rain showers due to localized thunderstorms. PAGASA warned the public of sudden heavy rains due to severe thunderstorms that may cause flash floods over low-lying areas.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said yesterday that cloud seeding operations will be conducted in Regions 2 and 12 as part of efforts to help mitigate the effects of the mild El Niño phenomenon.

Office of Civil Defense Administrator and NDRRMC Executive Director Undersecretary Ricardo B. Jalad said the cloud seeding operation will be held from March 14 to May 21 after conducting joint area assessments.

Jalad said P18.3 million has been released to Department of Agriculture regional offices for cloud seeding operations in partnership with the Philippine Air Force.

The other day, the NDRRMC Technical Management Group convened at the NDRRM Operations Center Conference Room in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City to discuss updates and action plans of pertinent agencies on El Niño.

Jalad assured the public that the government is doing everything to ensure adequate water supply for all.  “These agencies present in today’s meeting, especially those working with the water sector, will continue to collaborate to provide these needed services to the public,” Jalad said.  (Ellalyn V. Ruiz and Francis T. Wakefield)

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