Philippines

Cebuanos urged to conserve water as El Niño intensifies

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CEBU CITY, February 13 (PIA) --- Cebuanos are urged to conserve water as El Niño continues to intensify, triggering water shortage in various parts of the region.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-) Chief Planning Management Division Officer-in-Charge Dr. Eddie Llamedo said water conservation measures include checking for plumbing leaks and reporting pipe leaks to water concessionaires, using water sparingly such as when brushing teeth and washing hands, said Llamedo.

Other measures are:

  • Using a pail and dipper instead of the shower when bathing or the hose when washing vehicles and gardening during cooler times of the day

  • Reducing the frequency of doing the laundry, as well as hanging clothes to dry instead of prolonging the washing machine’s spin cycle

  • Utilizing used water for other purposes such as dousing garden plants with water used in food preparation, and using soapy laundry water for vehicles.

According to DENR-7 Regional Director Dr. Isabelo Montejo, the most vulnerable sectors that will most likely be affected by El Niño are agriculture, fisheries, energy and the environment.

DENR-7 made the appeal following reports of water shortage affecting a number of towns in Central Visayas, particularly in agricultural areas.

Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the country is likely to continue experiencing the worst of El Niño until February with droughts expected to hit most of the countryside until April.

The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, however, have noted a “weakening” El Niño which is expected to be over by midyear.

According to Montejo, the agency is on alert status especially in areas where there is massive reforestation project brought about by the national greening program (NGP) as El Niño may cause the leaves of the plants to dry up that will result to forest fires.

The phenomenon influences weather patterns, ocean conditions, and fisheries across the world over an extended period of time, he added.

"We should be more mindful on our water consumption in bathing, tooth brushing, and hand washing adding recycled laundry water could be used for gardening, flushing the toilet, and washing a car and a floor," he said. “We can use always a glass to brush our teeth or not allowing water to flow freely in the faucet while brushing, and avoid watering the plants during high noon as water easily evaporates."

El Niño is an abnormal weather pattern caused by the warming of the Pacific Ocean, affecting global climate and causing unusual droughts and floods.

It occurs every two to seven years, with the Philippines experiencing it last between mid-2009 and mid-2010. (rmn/jsme/PIA7-Cebu with DENR7 report)