Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dam If You Do, Dam If You Don't

by Anton Antonio
May 27, 2015

The Philippine Star news agency came up with a news item on the worrisome water level at the Angat Dam.  The article reads:

“MANILA, Philippines - The water level of Angat Dam in Bulacan yesterday fell below the 180-meter critical level for irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said.  PAGASA said the dam’s water level further dropped to 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m. yesterday from 180.2 meters on Monday.  Once the water reaches critical level, the protocol is to immediately cut the supply for irrigation and if the water continues to recede, the supply for electric power plants.  The priority is the domestic consumption in Metro Manila, according to PAGASA.  Angat Dam supplies 97 percent of Metro Manila’s water needs, mostly for domestic use, and irrigation of 27,000 hectares of farmlands in Bulacan and Pampanga.  It can supply Metro Manila households even if the water level dips to 170 meters, the National Power Corp., operator of the Angat Dam, said.  Maximo Peralta, officer-in-charge of PAGASA’s Hydrometeorology Division, earlier said Angat Dam’s level may continue to decline if the dry season extends until June or mid-July due to the mild El Niño phenomenon.  “If it does not rain until July or August, the worst-case scenario is that Angat Dam’s water level could drop to 160 meters,” he said.”  (

In an earlier blog ( several causes of water supply shortage in Cebu province were mentioned which could be considered a microcosm (meaning:  a community, place, or situation regarded as encapsulating in miniature the characteristic qualities or features of something much larger) of the Philippine condition.  Yes, drought and water supply problems are presently being experienced in the entire Philippine Archipelago.  There is, however, a protocol (meaning: the official procedure or system of rules) being followed by agencies such as the National Power Corp. and PAGASA’s Hydrometeorology Division.  The protocol is to cut-off water supply to irrigation systems (first), then electric power plants (second).

There really is no problem with the water supply protocol.  We have to take note, however, of the protocol’s dire effects:  (1) Rice production will seriously be compromised; and, (2) Electric power will have to be distributed which will affect industries… plus the many other related water and power problems that may happen.

Having stated all these, let us go to the root cause of our water shortage problem.  Global warming and climate change has toyed around with our traditional weather systems which has somehow moved and prolonged the dry season.  Allow me to mention that climate change is basically of anthropogenic (meaning: man-made) origins.  Again, the water supply protocol is fairly acceptable… it’s also an annoying case of “dam(n) if you do, dam(n) if you don’t”.

Just my little thoughts…

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Antonio, A. C. (2015). “The Water Problem of Cebu (part 2)”.  Retrieved on May 27, 2015 from

Philippine Star (2015). “Water Angat Dam Falls Below Critical Level”.  Retrieved on May 27, 2015 from

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