City ramps up drought preparedness amid El Niño threat

MPIW File photo

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

The Iloilo City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) is on high alert as it strategizes against the looming threat of drought intensified by the El Niño phenomenon.

In the wake of recent deliberations with key water stakeholders and environmental offices on March 1, 2024, the CDRRMC has issued an advisory outlining current conditions and proactive measures.

Metro Pacific Iloilo Water (MPIW) and South Balibago Waterworks (SBW), the city’s principal water suppliers, report that their operations remain unaffected for now, with water sources at normal levels.

However, they acknowledge that any external factors influencing water supply would prompt immediate action from the CDRRMC.

This proactive stance is in response to the El Niño phenomenon, which has historically led to prolonged dry spells affecting water availability and agricultural production in the region.

Several city areas, including public plazas, the Esplanade, and municipal facilities like the Dalayunan and Iloilo Dog Pound, are already grappling with water scarcity, relying on tanker support to meet their daily needs.

A comprehensive survey spearheaded by CENRO, the City Health Office (CHO), and CDRRMO is underway to assess the drought’s reach among households, particularly those reliant on shallow wells across seven districts of Iloilo City.

The survey’s findings will inform the CDRRMC’s ongoing drought mitigation strategies, which emphasize water conservation and management at the household level.

The Office of the City Health Officer is tasked with a crucial monitoring role, watching for an uptick in heat-related diseases, both communicable and non-communicable, that often accompany prolonged dry spells.

As of now, the CDRRM Council has refrained from recommending a State of Calamity due to drought in Iloilo City.

Nonetheless, they are poised to act swiftly should the ongoing surveys or changing circumstances warrant such a declaration, adhering to the guidelines set by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Memorandum Order No. 60 Series of 2019.

Citizens are urged to conserve water and stay informed as the CDRRMC works diligently to update advisories and implement measures to safeguard the community against the encroaching drought.